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Our Annual Report gives us an opportunity to communicate all the changes and accomplishments of the preceding year with our stakeholders. 2015 was a unique year as our community adjusted to significant changes in industry and the commercial marketplace. However, The United Way of Fort McMurray continued to focus on, and made progress on, our priorities. We have been strategic in the past and, led by a strong Board of Directors, we are well positioned to face these challenging times and take advantage of new opportunities to meet the needs of the community.

We have partnered in convening a new group to pursue poverty reduction strategies in Wood Buffalo. This is not only a United Way priority, but one that is particularly time-sensitive as many families, along with the chronically vulnerable, learn to cope with unemployment and uncertainty for the first time.

Collaboration continued to be at the core of much of our community work in 2015 as we partnered with important groups: Homelessness Initiatives Strategic Committee, Movement Advisory Council (United Way Canada), Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo (as the 5 year project was finalized), ConvergenceYMM and the Heart of Wood Buffalo Leadership Awards among them. We also noted significant growth in volunteer collaboration to support our agencies this year. Days of Caring projects increased with a strong appetite for hands-on volunteer involvement in helping others in our community.

The development and opening of The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place was an enormous undertaking this year, and one which has resulted in a dramatically enriched social profit environment. We have welcomed a variety of new tenants, including several from the sports and cultural sector. Successful training, meetings, and events have all benefited from being hosted in this space with the amenities and ambience our facility offers. Outside of events, we witness daily networking and strengthening of our community as agencies and individuals pool resources, innovate and collaborate in an atmosphere which was designed specifically for this purpose.

At United Way we continue to strive to share the important message of meeting our community needs together. We have expanded our communications with increased social media including the integration of blogs and the creation of a new radio show entitled “IMPACT”, which began airing on KAOS in 2016. In addition to an increasing number of volunteers taking advantage of our Diversified Transportation Seeing is Believing tours of our 26 member agencies, we published several new virtual Seeing is Believing tour videos featuring the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club and Centre of Hope. A video featuring three of our agencies who help seniors – St. Aidan’s Society, McMan and Golden Years Society – was unveiled early in 2016. Telling the stories of how community needs are being met continues to be a communication priority.

With a commitment to transparency, strong governance principles, and being effective stewards of donor dollars, we are tremendously grateful for the knowledge, insight and hard work provided by our volunteer Board of Directors, the Community Investment Committee, and our skilled staff team. We acknowledge that behind every program and every changed life are the donors, volunteers and agency partners that help us meet community needs. It gives us great pride to acknowledge that it is only through their combined wisdom and actions that we are able to continue to help kids thrive, tackle poverty, and build a stronger, more resilient community for everyone.

Although gaps may continue to emerge, 2016 promises to be a year of great possibility in meeting community needs together.

Ben Dutton
Board of Directors

Diane Shannon
Executive Director