Organization hoping to land provincial grant
For the past 75 years, the United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta has made an impact for local charities.
However, more could be done within the community if the organization can secure a provincial grant to help offset operating costs.
The United Way’s executive director, Trudy Carrels, came before city council last week to request a letter of support to accompany the grant application.
“Requests for funding are increasing because of the economy and our city growth. Our child poverty rate is very high, and one of the highest in Alberta,” said Carrels.
“We want to help more and we want to make a bigger impact in addressing poverty. Through the grant support for operations, we can do that.”
The United Way is applying for up to $75,000 from the Community Initiatives Program. If successful, the funding will allow the organization to direct more money to charities within the community and region. Council approved the letter of support.
The United Way concept began in 1941, formerly called the Community Chest. It was organized in an effort to curb multiple funding requests after the onset of the Second World War. Former Mayor D.H. Elton called together representatives to run one strong fundraising campaign between organizations to save time, energy and money.
Their vision is to alleviate poverty and ensure individuals, families and children can reach their full potential. In the past three years, grants have been provided to 29 organizations in the Lethbridge area. More than 20,000 people from 28 communities access United Way-funded programs each year.
Some of the organizations supported since 2014 include Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, food banks, women’s shelters, school programs, mental health organizations, and those that serve at-risk individuals.
In addition, more than 125 people volunteer with the local United Way every year, putting in more than 800 hours of work.