United Way supports 5th on 5th Youth Services with $25,000 in emergency funding

Fawn Buffalow and Abshir Haji join Gail McKenzie in accepting a cheque from Maureen Burke, Sarah Burton, Nancy Leggett and Jeff McLarty

Volunteers from the United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta have presented 5th on 5th Youth Services with $25,000 in funding to help support its business operations until January.

The funds come from the United Way’s emergency reserve, which is supported primarily by payroll deductions from area employers and employees.

“One of the goals of the 2014 United Way Campaign is to increase the number of businesses and organizations who invest in the community through payroll deductions,” said Jeff McLarty, the Executive Director of the United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta.

“Our support for 5th on 5th through this program is a direct result of people investing in our community through donations off their paycheque,” McLarty said.

“It’s the easiest way for people to support us and if we have more support in this fashion we will, in turn, be able to help more organizations and more people. We are hopeful our investment spurs others to come forward and support 5th on 5th since they provide valuable services to our business community.”

5th on 5th has faced a number of funding challenges as it strives to maintain services to an estimated 8,000 youth each year. The organization has served more than 160,000 people since its founding in 1994.

“This donation from the community through the United Way is another positive step toward securing long-term stability,” said Gail McKenzie, Executive Director, 5th on 5th Youth Services.  “It is particularly gratifying to know it comes from the community at large, and from people who take the time to have their donation taken off their paycheque.”

McKenzie added that even with this funding, and a recent cash injection of almost $75,000 from the province of Alberta, challenges still remain.

 “In order for us to truly provide our services on a sustained basis, we need to have at least $150,000 by the end of the year, and we also require additional funding from provincial or federal sources with the support of our city partners to support our continued operation.”

In a typical year, 5th on 5th sees about 15,000 visits from approximately 8,000 people who are served by a variety of life skills and employment readiness programs.  The per-person cost for 5th on 5th to be able to assist an individual is approximately $30 per year.

More than 22 organizations in Lethbridge and South Western Alberta received program funding from United Way’s 2013 Fundraising Campaign including 5th on 5th Youth Services. The funding announced today is in addition to the regular grant 5th on 5th was selected to receive from the United Way Community Fund.

To support the United Way, please visit: https://lethbridgeunitedway.ca/sumac/sumac_start.php?package=donation2

To learn more about how to support the United Way through payroll deductions, please contact Kathryn Ponomar at 403-327-1700 or email kponomar@lethbridgeunitedway.ca

Appearing in photo (left to right): Fawn Buffalow, Abshir Haji (clients of 5th on 5th), Gail McKenzie (Executive Director, 5th on 5th Youth Services), Maureen Burke (United Way Board Chair), Sarah Burton (United Way Board Secretary), Nancy Leggett (United Way Board Director), Jeff McLarty (United Way Executive Director)