Agency interview time

Over the next few months, our Community Investment Committee volunteers will be spending hours learning about a variety of charities operating in Wood Buffalo. Many are member agencies applying for renewed funding, others are aspiring to become members.

Community Investment Committee volunteers Jackie Pride and Clara at the VIP Red Carpet Reception

Community Investment Committee volunteers Jackie Pride and Clara Patenaude at the VIP Red Carpet Reception

“This is a comprehensive process,” said Muna Yussuf, Community Investment Coordinator. “We have a robust application process that requires a lot of due diligence on the part of the agencies, and a lot of reading for our Community Investment Committee volunteers.”

“These are people who work in all sectors of the community,” said Diane Shannon, Executive Director. “We are so appreciative of the work they do to prepare for the agency interview process and the integrity they demonstrate in the effective stewarding of donor dollars.”

The committee is split into three teams, each of which is responsible for a third of the applicants. Each team reads and thoroughly reviews a binder that is hundreds of pages long as having a good sense of the funding requests is essential before the agencies come in for their interview.

“While this process can be viewed as onerous, it is meant to ensure principles of good governance, transparency and accountability,” said Shannon. “At the same time, we want the agencies to be successful and we look forward to working with them through the application phase.”

The relationship between the United Way, the Community Investment Committee and the applying agencies is an important one to all concerned. And while this has been an anxious part of the funding cycle in previous years, efforts are being made to create a more collaborative, yet diligent, process.

“We are coaching our Community Investment Committee volunteers to focus on the overall impact of the agencies,” said Yussuf. “Whether it is a member agency applying for renewed funding or a new agency wanting to access funding support, our primary interest is on how people are being helped. We aspire to have the dynamic between the Community Investment Committee and the agencies to feel more like a partnership.”

Lots of reading and dozens of interviews will be followed by a review process and the Board approval of funding allocations in March 2015.

2014 Community Investment Committee

John Evans- Chair

Jordanna Lambert – Team Lead
Jon Wynn- Team Lead
Hope Ellis
Mitchell Mulhall
Interpreet Kang
Michael Hurlburt
Fatima Mian

Andrea Hine- Team Lead
Michelle Velez- Team Lead
Doug Simms
Clara Patenaude
Qasim Malik
Jackie Pride
Lloyd Macdougall
Amy Janes

Loriley White- Team Lead
Moe Farhat
Christian Coetzee
Jeremy Smith
Theresa Jolliffe
Jacqueline Bell
Nargis Asadi



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 ( 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.