Donor Spotlight

Gifts from generous people, help the United Way achieve extraordinary things.

The United Way  is working towards long-term solutions to address childhood poverty, reduce senior isolation, and empower low-income families with healthy and necessary life-skills to break the cycle of poverty.

Donors and supporters are vital to this work. Here are some of their stories:

Louise Harrison,  Executive Coordinator, UBC Library – Administration

Why do you give? To give others a better quality of life! I signed up to donate through payroll and would encourage everyone to do this, it’s really easy to do.  For the cost of a couple of coffees a month you could make an impact in someone else’s life. The work that the United Way does for children, families and seniors is really important, building stronger communities and giving people connections. Giving is not just about making a donation, it’s about making a difference.

How long have you given to the United Way? Since 2013 when I moved to Vancouver from England.  I was fortunate enough to join UBC back in 2013 and have been able to volunteer and take part in some UBC United Way events, including the Turkey Trot, Sauder Bake sale and the UPS Plane Pull.  Most recently I joined the UBC Library and was able to watch the Annual Spelling Bee in action.  I look forward to the annual events that UBC holds for UW and new events that come up 🙂

Andrew Parr, Interim VP Students

I’ve been giving financially to the United Way for many years. Starting from a time when I became involved as a United Way volunteer at UBC, including as co-chair of the UBC campaign for a couple of years.

My wife and I like to share our charitable giving into 3 categories: 1) international needs, 2) health, and 3) community.   In our view, the United Way of the Lower Mainland is an excellent way to give to community.  I appreciate the United Way’s approach to different demographics of our local communities, such as: homeless, people in need, youth and the elderly.

I also like that the United Way works with other local agencies to deliver very tangible, and live changing services to these demographics in our society.  Finally, because of the UBC payroll deduction opportunity, it is so easy to give. Once you begin you don’t miss the dollars going to the contribution you are making to YOUR local community. It’s easy to show your LOCAL LOVE!

Eric Chow, Alumni Engagement Coordinator, Development and Alumni Engagement

How did you get involved with the United Way? What was your experience like?

For 4.5 years, I was the coordinator for the United Way’s Better at Home program for the Richmond region. Funded by the Government of British Columbia and managed by the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Better at Home program aims to reduce isolation, enhance mobility, and support independence among BC’s multicultural seniors population. The program is offered by 67 non-profit organizations throughout BC and provides essential services, including driving seniors to medical appointments, grocery shopping, companionship, and light housekeeping, provided by mostly volunteers.

I have many fond memories of meeting seniors or their family members, and seeing their faces light up at the possibilities that the program can help them or their loved ones. I met a senior who was 101 years old and experienced the loss of her children due to illness and friends due to age, now finding herself without any friends or family. Through the Better at Home program, I matched her with a friendly volunteer that visited her weekly to chat with her, have tea, and provide her with that social connection she had been missing. It was heartbreaking at times, but the services we provided changed lives, I have no doubt.

The United Way promotes “Changing lives. Together.”, “We are Possibility” and “Acts of Local Love”. Do you have a story related to this you could share?

The impact of the United Way and the Better at Home program is immense for the 600 seniors registered for the Richmond program and thousands more across the Province. Mona in the video below suffered from a traumatic car accident in 2015. Due to her fear of being hit by a vehicle, she is unable to cross the 40 feet crosswalk from her apartment to the shopping centre, a daily trip she took prior to her accident. Incredibly independent before her accident, Mona became very socially isolated and her self-esteem decreased as she felt frustrated that she could not overcome her psychological barrier. I introduced Mona to two lovely volunteers and together they walk across the street and walk around the shopping centre, buy groceries and household goods, and have lunch as well. Mona is also slowly regaining her confidence to cross the street by herself. She is among many seniors who have benefited from the generosity and kindness of the volunteers and the work of the United Way.

Final thoughts – if you could summarize in one sentence why people should get involved, what would you say?

What we ourselves consider as small or insignificant, can have the life-changing impact on others; so donate and/or volunteer today and give life back to someone in need.

Alison Horwood,  Assignment Clerk, Student Housing & Hospitality Service

Why do you give? I like to give to United Way as they know who is in need in the community. I know my contribution will make a difference in someone’s life, which is a very good feeling!

How long have you given to the United Way? I’ve been giving to the United Way since I first started at UBC in 2010.