AGM celebrates collaboration and community

It was a year highlighted by continued generosity and a significant move of the United Way from Franklin Avenue to The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place. The Board of Directors held its Annual General Meeting last night at a well attended event in The Redpoll Centre Conference Room.

_2016 Board e

Back Row (left to right): John Evans, Don Scott, Ben Dutton, Mike Teshima, Marty Giles, Doug Simms, Steve Yatauro
Front Row (left to right): Caitlin Hanley, Krista Balsom, Colin Hartigan
Missing: Lisa Hilsenteger, Tony Mankowski, Lori McDaniel, Bryce Kumka and Andy Carter

“We live in a great community,” said Doug Simms during his Treasurer’s report. “What people were able to do, given the environment, was truly amazing.”

Referencing approximately $6.8 million in donations that came in during the 2015 Community Campaign, Simms noted that the United Way is in a healthy financial position and was able to make community investments totaling over $7.2 million, thanks to 2014 contributions.

“It was a difficult year, but a year that met our planned expectations,” Simms added.

In his President’s report, Ben Dutton touched on a number of successes that came out of a year defined by the economic downturn.

“We have a strong group on the board,” he said. “Our goal is to operate at a maximum level of excellence.”

He highlighted a number of strategic priorities including the development of new revenue streams, identifying regional synergies with other United Way organizations, taking a lead on poverty reduction, and continuing to support capacity building initiatives in the social profit sector.

The move of the United Way to The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place has exceeded expectations in terms of the positive impact it is having on the sector and on the community.

“The model is really working,” shared Diane Shannon in her Executive Director’s report. “We are seeing collaborations and connections happening every day. The Redpoll Centre is adding strength to the fabric of our community.”

While he expressed disappointment in ending the 2015 Community Campaign short of the target, Marty Giles, Campaign Chair, lauded the efforts of the workplace campaign team who went above and beyond to meet community needs.

“The workplace campaigns are where the rubber hits the road,” he said. “And these men and women who served as campaign chairs were amazing.”

Giles received a much-deserved standing ovation for his passionate and personal leadership of a campaign that happened during the toughest fiscal year in Alberta since 1982.

“We didn’t see the upward trajectory of donations continue in 2015,” said Ben Dutton. “However, we certainly saw an upward trajectory in the energy.”

John Evans, Chair of the Community Investment Committee shared the double-edge sword reality of a down economy: a reduction in donations and a dramatic increase in agency requests for funding.

“We had an increase of over a million dollars in funding applications,” he said. “These outstanding community volunteers did a great job of learning about the agencies, going through interviews and then deliberating on allocation recommendations.”

Evans also acknowledged the agencies for all the work they did during the application process and throughout the year.

Collaboration, resilience, community and volunteerism were themes that wove through all the presentations as the Board of Directors looked back on the previous year of operations. The 2015 Annual Report was also released last night including the condensed financial statements. It is available to download on The United Way of Fort McMurray website at or by clicking here.


Author: The United Way of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo | 780-791-0077 ext. 3015