United Way Waterloo Region Communities launched its 2017 campaign last weekend with a Race Around the Region.
Teams performed activities in six area locations including Woolwich and Wellesley, ending at the Waterloo Region Police headquarters where United Way CEO Joan Fisk spoke to the organization’s new vision, Change the Power of Poverty.
The first campaign of the newly merged United Way in the region, which absorbed United Way Cambridge and North Dumfries and United Way Kitchener Waterloo and Area, has yielded a fundraising goal of $7 million.
“What we want to do with this drive is permanently change that power that poverty has over someone,” she said. “The United Way has been focused on poverty in one way or another for many years. Now we are intentionally focused on changing the power of poverty and that intention is very important when we talk to the people that we work together with in our agencies.”
The fundraising goal is set to ensure their partners in the community are able to provide people with the tools they need to be successful, to not fall into poverty or to aid those in need with changing their current situation.
“United Way works together with agencies in communities through funding to help with this really difficult task that we have got. Poverty really sucks you in,” she said, adding that the United Way is an agent of change.
According to the agency, there are currently almost 50,000 people in the region living in low-income situations. Fisk explained that by giving to the United Way, everything stays local to be put right back into your community.
“We are not going to make it go away, but what we are intent on doing is asking our community to help us raise $7 million this year so that we can help more people and that we have better strategies and plans in place with our partners,” she said. “Together we can make incremental building block changes to what poverty does in our community and it is our community, and ours to help, ours to fix.”