United Way launches annual campaign, speaks to need for community support and innovation

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“Our theme is ‘united we make the biggest difference and show your local love’. This can be through small acts of kindness or big, game-changing initiatives, but we are encouraging people to get involved and be part of their community,” said Young.

The organization is targeting Calgarians’ social-economic well-being, social inclusion, healthy relationships, diversity and equity.

“When people invest in social good, it creates positive ripples of impact within the city,” said Young.

United Way Calgary and Area CEO Karen Young, left, live streams with United Way campaign co-chairs, Beth Reimer-Heck and Alec Clark at the launch of this year’s campaign on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic the usual big launch event was a virtual one. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

The virtual event launched what is typically the largest fundraising campaign in Western Canada. Though the annual march down Stephen Avenue won’t go ahead, they are hoping people will engage online instead.

The launch showcased a discussion with Vinod Rajasekaran, CEO and founder of The Future of Good — a digital publication that covers topics of social impact. He said the pandemic has given everyone an opportunity to tune in to their community’s needs, and agencies like United Way can help.

“A recent survey shows that most Canadians want to see a broad transformation of our society when the COVID-19 crisis ends,” said Rajasekaran.

“There’s a willingness and appetite to change for the better . . . We’re paying more attention right now to our neighbourhoods, to local businesses, farms, retirement villages in our neighbourhoods, and that’s exciting. We’re being rewired to pay attention to local issues, and that’s a really good thing.”

He hopes people will try to find solutions within their community to help people through this challenging time.

“I’m hoping that as people are so focused on what’s around us in our own neighbourhoods, United Way can attract some engaging new supporters,” he said.

sbabych@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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