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United Way on its way

Kickoff in October

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 14/02) - The United Way is coming to Yellowknife.

Five board members have worked hard for two years to bring the United Way to Yellowknife. A kickoff breakfast is planned for October 16 at the fire hall.

The United Way is charitable organization that raises money and develops a broad theme or series of campaigns. It then calls for proposals that fall under this theme and decides via a selection committee what organizations to give money to.

"We see the United Way as working really closely with agencies and organizations already in place," said board member Lowell Ann Fuglsang.

"It's a structured way of raising funds to support things."

The United Way receives a lot of its funding through federal employees payroll deduction. Employees decide if and how much they want to give and the federal government deducts this amount from their paycheques.

The Yellowknife United Way is hoping to establish a similar system with the GNWT and other businesses.

"It's Yellowknifers taking care of Yellowknifers," said Fuglsang. "Some people might think the money gets raised and sent away somewhere. It's quite the opposite."

To come up with a first theme, the Yellowknife United Way approached the social planning coalition for advice on what they should focus on.

"They came back with three things," said Fuglsang. "Economic poverty, to reduce the marginalization of families and to encourage diverse groups in Yellowknife to work more closely together."

Then the United Way came up with the theme: families participating fully in the diversity of Yellowknife living. Fuglsang said the society's definition of families includes everyone. For example, the United Way may accomplish this them by helping those who can't afford to send their children extracurricular activities.

"There are lots of things to do in this town," she said. "But there are lots of people who can't access those things that enhance lifestyle and promote growth."

The United Way is holding an annual general meeting on Sept 30 and is looking to expand its five-member board.