Fire money vs campaign money

In the months following the evacuation of our communities, and the subsequent re-entry, The United Way of Fort McMurray has been engaged in two substantial pieces of work. On the one hand, we have been collecting donations from across Alberta, Canada and the U.S. for the Fire Recovery Fund. On the other hand, we’ve kicked off our annual Community Campaign, which raises funds from generous individuals and companies right here in our region.

As Tony Mankowski, United Way Board President explains, these are two separate and distinct funding streams with different purposes.

The Fire Recovery Fund includes approximately $3.25 million in pledges resulting from the Fire Aid Concert in Edmonton and the United for Fort McMurray campaign. When the video update was done, approximately $1.74 million had been received, of which, about a third had been invested.

“It is important to recognize that these funds are held and managed very seperately from our regular Community Investment Funds,” he said.

The Fire Recovery Fund is going to be invested in short-term needs resulting from the wildfire. The Community Investment Fund, replenished each year from funds raised during the Community Campaign, is invested in long-term needs addressed by agencies and programs that help create a sustainable and healthy community.

“One hundred percent of our agencies did not receive one hundred percent of their funding this year,” said Colin Hartigan, Community Campaign Chair.

“The $8 million dollar campaign goal is really $8 million in needs.”

It is important to note that the United Way funds agencies who address community needs. United Way organizations in Canada do not provide direct funding to individuals.

If you have specific questions about the Fire Recovery Fund or the Community Investment Fund, we encourage you to drop by The United Way of Fort McMurray offices located in The Redpoll Centre or call 780-791-0077.


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.