Pictured: Brian Wichers (owner/operator,Lethbridge Caterers Ltd.) Chad Zentner (funeral director, Cornerstone Funeral Home Ltd.), Maureen Burke (United Way Board Chair), Trudy Carrels (United Way Executive Director) Kristie Kruger (owner and realtor, My Life Realty), Judy Schrempf (president, Financial Health Associates) Leaders not pictured: Ron Sakamoto (president, Gold & Gold Productions and Paradise Canyon Golf Resort; Sonny and Kim Nakashima (Lethbridge community members)
The morning of June 7 in the Servus Learning Studio at the Galt Museum & Archives, United Way executive director Trudy Carrels officially welcomed the first members to a new leadership giving program, Leader of the Way.
“Each of you as leaders have a powerful impact on the community around you,” said Carrels, addressing the gathering. “There are so many things United Way has supported over the years to touch the lives of babies, children, youth, adults, families and seniors and we’re so proud to welcome you as the first Leaders of the Way.”
Leader of the Way is intended for those committed to helping others with donations of $1,200 or more to United Way annually in order to create a source of stable and consistent funding for local programs for people and families.
“I’m looking forward to this campaign,” said Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman who brought greetings to the group. “I think celebrating leadership and celebrating giving in the community is very timely as people are finding unique ways to support and give back to their city.”
Each leader was presented with a certificate and a gemstone-chip United Way pin recognizing their commitment. The first unique pin - exclusive to Leaders of the Way – went to current board director Chad Zentner of Cornerstone Funeral Home Ltd. Zentner, in turn, presented pins to each of the other Leaders present, including Judy Schrempf, president of Financial Health Associates; Brian Wichers, owner and operator of Lethbridge Caterers Ltd.; and Kristie Kruger, owner and realtor at My Life Realty.
Also recognized but not able to attend were community members Sonny and Kim Nakashima; and Ron Sakamoto of Gold & Gold Productions.
Leader and former United Way board chair Brian Wichers he’s happy to see the impact United Way is making.
“I’ve been on United Way’s Board and Allocations Committee and was fortunate to visit many of the agencies United Way funds. You see what people are trying to do to help others and the impact that United Way makes in that process. It warms my heart.”
Carrels explains that there is no time commitment for how long someone can be a Leader of the Way.
“It’s really up to each individual but we want these Leaders to say they want to be part of lasting change that impacts our community and take pride in their part of helping others,” she said.
“It’s our pleasure to be part of supporting organizations that touch people’s lives. It actually makes me very humbled. We see the needs of our community in the grant applications we receive. We want to continue to be proactive in addressing issues like child poverty, rising mental health concerns and many other needs in the community.”
Each year, United Way provides grants to support a number of programs in the areas of poverty alleviation, building healthy families and inclusive communities, and positive child and youth development. Collectively, these programs help over 20,000 babies, children, youth, adults, seniors and families annually.
Donors at the leadership level also see some perks, including the opportunity to fill vacancies on United Way’s Board of Directors and Allocations Committee, two of the groups responsible for deciding how United Way funding is distributed each year, visiting some of United Way’s partner agencies to see the impact of their gift and, of course, a tax receipt for the full value of the gift.
The First Leaders are:
- Chad Zentner, funeral director at Cornerstone Funeral Home Ltd.
- Judy Schrempf, president of Financial Health Associates
- Brian Wichers, owner and operator of Lethbridge Caterers Ltd.
- Kristie Kruger, owner and realtor of My Life Realty
- Ron Sakamoto, president of Gold & Gold Productions & Paradise Canyon Golf Resort
- Sonny and Kim Nakashima, Lethbridge community members