Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (Photo submitted)

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (Photo submitted)

6 United Way chapters merging around B.C.

Money raised in communities will stay in those communities, agency says

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging to try to be “stronger together.”

United Way announced in a press release Tuesday, June 22, the merger of chapters in the Lower Mainland, Thompson Nicola Cariboo, Southern Interior, Trail and District, East Kootenay, and Central and Northern Vancouver Island.

Michael McKnight, CEO of the new United Way B.C., said in the release that by uniting as one organization, United Way can help more people and make a bigger difference.

“We are excited to amalgamate as a single entity because we will be stronger together,” he said. “This is the natural next step for us and will help ensure strong, healthy and caring communities.”

The release says that four regional councils will “ensure donations are maximized at the local level,” with the chairs of the regional councils sitting on United Way B.C.’s board of directors. United Way members approved the merger at a special general meeting June 15 and the new organization begins operations July 1. The United Way said community work is proceeding as normal.

“Together we are committed to maintaining local programs and staff in all of our communities,” said Dot Neary, board chairperson of the United Way CNVI, in the release. “Donors want to see tangible outcomes at the local level. That’s why dollars raised locally will stay local.”

The press release noted that United Way surveyed more than 200 social service professionals in B.C., with three-quarters saying the pandemic had created challenges in service delivery and almost 90 per cent reporting a rise in demand for services.

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