Eight non-prof­its to ben­e­fit from funds raised at Swift Cur­rent United Way gala

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG— mlieben­berg@prairiepos­t.com

Eight non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions will ben­e­fit from funds raised at the Swift Cur­rent United Way’s 4th an­nual Foun­da­tion of Hope gala.

The goal is to raise $75,000 at this year's gala to sup­port com­mu­nity pro­grams that will make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als.

Swift Cur­rent United Way an­nounced the eight bene­fac­tors, Sept. 21. The event was at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as the pre­sent­ing spon­sors (Pat­ti­son Agri­cul­ture, Stan­dard Mo­tors) and gold spon­sor (Vi­sion Care Clinic).

“Once we go through the grant process and our ex­ter­nal grant com­mit­tee go through it and fi­nal­izes the suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants, we al­ways like to pub­licly re­lease that so that those com­ing to the gala as well as com­mu­nity mem­bers who have been sup­port­ing United Way through­out the year are aware of the non-prof­its and com­mu­nity pro­grams that are go­ing to be ben­e­fit­ting di­rectly from the Foun­da­tion of Hope gala,” Swift Cur­rent United Way Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Stacey Schwartz said.

Nine non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions sub­mit­ted grant ap­pli­ca­tions to the Swift Cur­rent United Way. Their sub­mis­sions were re­viewed by an ex­ter­nal grant com­mit­tee.

“We have wide rep­re­sen­ta­tion from var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions and busi­nesses that come and sit on our com­mit­tee and help us select the el­i­gi­ble ap­pli­cants,” she said.

Ap­pli­cants have to be regis­tered with Canada Rev­enue Agency as a non­profit. The grant com­mit­tee con­sid­ers the sus­tain­abil­ity of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the pro­posed pro­gram for which funds are re­quested, as well as the so­cial is­sues that will be im­pacted. There are spe­cific cri­te­ria on what the grant fund­ing can be used for.

“It has to be to­wards the pro­gram fund­ing and ex­penses re­lated to that to have that pro­gram op­er­ate,” she said. “So they have to be able to show in their re­quest how they're go­ing to uti­lize those funds for 2019. As well, we do fol­low-up and this year we ac­tu­ally re­leased a re­port in March for our yearend com­mu­nity im­pact re­port. So we do fol­low up with them as well, just how they did to uti­lize the funds.”

Var­i­ous changes were made to the fund­ing grant con­di­tions dur­ing the past four years, in­clud­ing a $10,000 limit on the max­i­mum amount that can be re­quested by an or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Be­fore we never used to have a max­i­mum amount,” Schwartz noted. “We would have every­thing from a $60,000 re­quest to a $2,000 re­quest, and we just couldn't jus­tify al­lot­ting that amount of fund­ing in one area ver­sus the greater im­pact if we can give $10,000 to say each or­ga­ni­za­tion and just re­ally be­ing able to sup­port each of them to the best of our abil­ity.”

These changes and the re­port­ing re­quire­ments for the com­mu­nity im­pact re­port are aimed at en­sur­ing trans­parency with re­gard to the use of funds.

“It's im­por­tant for our donors to have that trans­parency and for those who come to the gala and sup­port it to see that it's worth their time and their funds that they're in­vest­ing,” she said. “I think trans­parency nowa­days is even more a pri­or­ity than it has ever been. Peo­ple are de­mand­ing that more and more to know and see the im­pact of where their funds are be­ing uti­lized. So we just want to make sure that there's that con­fi­dence and that in­tegrity to our donors, to the peo­ple that are sup­port­ing the United Way and the fundraiser that we do, the Foun­da­tion of Hope.”

Ticket sales for the gala have been re­ally good and only a very lim­ited num­ber are still avail­able. There are some changes for this year's event to in­crease fundrais­ing.

“We're do­ing all of our silent auc­tion on­line,” she said. “So even those who can't be in at­ten­dance can still bid and sup­port it that way.”

The gala will also in­clude an af­ter party with a live per­for­mance by coun­try mu­si­cian Blake Ber­glund. The all-in­clu­sive tick­ets for the gala in­cludes a three-course din­ner and the af­ter party, but now there is an­other op­tion of buy­ing tick­ets for just the af­ter party, which will start at 10 p.m.

“So it's an­other way that peo­ple can get in­volved, be­cause we do rec­og­nize we have lim­ited seat­ing for the event and we typ­i­cally sell out a month or so be­fore,” she ex­plained. “It's for peo­ple who maybe missed their chance to at­tend the full evening, but they can still take part, at least even come cel­e­brate with us the suc­cess of that evening.”

Be­low are the eight or­ga­ni­za­tions that will ben­e­fit from this year’s gala and the projects that will be funded:

Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion (Meal pro­gram; Ed­u­ca­tion, life skills and so­cial/recre­ational pro­gram), Cana­dian Na­tional In­sti­tute for the Blind (En­hanc­ing qual­ity of life pro­gram­ming - peer sup­port; Sum­mer day camps, Em­ploy­ment boot camp), Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre, SaskA­bil­i­ties (Com­mu­nity in­clu­sion pro­gram), Swift Cur­rent Com­mu­nity Youth Ini­tia­tive – The Cen­ter (Hot meal pro­gram for youth), South­west Cri­sis Ser­vices (Com­mu­nity out­reach pro­gram), South­west Homes (Vo­ca­tional trans­porta­tion pro­gram; Ad­di­tional sup­ports pro­gram), United Way Ac­tive Play (Af­ter school pro­gram).

Photo cour­tesy of Swift Cur­rent United Way

The eight non-profit agen­cies that will ben­e­fit from the Swift Cur­rent United Way's 4th an­nual Foun­da­tion of Hope gala were an­nounced at a me­dia event, Sept. 21. From left to right, Stacey Schwartz (United Way ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor), Mark Plewis (Stan­dard Mo­tors), Anne Ford and Kim­berly Bi­lan­ski (Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre), Jayda Wat­son (SaskA­bil­i­ties), Lana Stang­land (South­west Homes), Jac­qui Wil­li­ams (Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion Swift Cur­rent), Kayla Gor­nick (United Way Ac­tive Play), Brenna Ek­strand (South­west Cri­sis Ser­vices), Nathan Wiebe (The Cen­ter), Dr. Tri­cia Hol­l­i­day (Vi­sion Care), Arthur Ward (Pat­ti­son Agri­cul­ture).

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