100 Days | 100 Faces

Earls Billboard

Each day for 100 days, beginning tomorrow and going until the end of the 2017 Community Campaign, we will feature 100 Faces of United Way. Why? Great question.

We had a little fun with this short video teaser. A 14 year old youth volunteer put this together for us. Each participant had their portrait done by photographer Brandon Cooper; many were interviewed on camera. They all were very generous with their time and with their stories.

Ultimately, we wanted to express that United Way is a lot of things to a lot of different people.

United Way is the DONOR, who annually fills out a United Way pledge form when the canvasser makes his or her rounds at their workplace in the fall. They give because they understand the impact of the dollars, having gone on several Seeing Is Believing tours. In fact, giving and volunteering has become part of their family tradition.

United Way is the VOLUNTEER, the person who gives of their time during the annual campaign to raise awareness in the workplace, organize fun events, and deepen their understanding of our agencies. They know what it is like to be in a situation to need a helping hand, and they feel honoured to be in a situation to give back with their time.

United Way is the BOARD MEMBER, who stepped forward all those years ago to serve on what was then called the allocations committee. They learned about the community through a revealing social profit lens and discovered a calling for public service that has grown during the years that have passed.

United Way is the front line life changer working at a MEMBER AGENCY. They were out of town when the fire hit, but spent hours and hours connecting with, and advocating for, their clients. Their efforts likely saved the life of one mobility and mentally challenged individual who got left behind.

United Way is that passionate STAFF PERSON who has been serving the organization for 15 years. They have walked alongside the organization as it grew from raising just over a million dollars a year to raising over $8 million a few years ago. They have helped the organization move from its original location above the radio stations to The Redpoll Centre on Franklin, and then The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place.

United Way is a NEIGHBOUR, working alongside of us in the the shared office space on the second floor of Shell Place called The Redpoll Centre. They have made many new friends, started new collaborations, and feel more connected to the community than ever before. They are part of The Redpoll Centre family, and, by extension, part of the United Way family.

United Way is that YOUNG PERSON who lost their way, but was embraced by an agency that offered help, hope and a temporary home during a difficult time. They are getting help finding a job, and feel for the first time in years that their life is back on track.

United Way is the ADULT who has beaten their addiction thanks to a spot in the treatment centre subsided by generous donations that came in during our Community Campaign. Falling in and out of sobriety for decades, they are now in a good place and able to help others.

There are thousands of faces in our community who contribute to or benefit from United Way. We are going to feature 100 of them to give you a sense of us.

How can you help? That’s easy. Like and share the features that speak to you.

We are United Way. United Way is all of us.

Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online (www.middleagebulge.com) and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.