As of late January, Western employees, retirees and volunteers associated with the United Way Elgin Middlesex campaign raised more than $600,000 in support of the annual effort.
Each fall, faculty, staff, students and retirees come together to run the campaign in support of the United Way and their efforts to support personal well-being. They do this by investing in community health initiatives, supporting urgent needs, promoting independence and long-term financial stability, and helping youth reach their full potential. The key message this year is encouraging people to "Show Your Local Love."
The funds raised were the equivalent to: providing 935 people access to healthy and nutritious food, providing 366 individuals employment counselling, supporting 962 children in a literacy and social skills programs, allowing 408 youth to take part in summer programs and camps, providing 662 individuals with mental health counselling and helping 1,593 victims of family violence.
According to Shawn Finkbeiner, director of finance Housing & Ancillary Services, the goal this year was “to assist as many people in need [and] to encourage individuals with the resources and ability to get involved and make a difference.”
“If you can positively influence one individual’s life, you will have impacted many. Many individuals that received support and assistance from United Way turn around and give back when they have an opportunity," said Finkbeiner.
Western University has been a long-time supporter of the United Way, raising close to $13 million since 1996. For the past several years, Western has led the largest United Way employee campaign in Middlesex county.
“I am hoping students understand how much this campaign matters to those in need within London and area communities. I am hoping more students get involved by participating in our special events planned by the committee and with volunteering at the agencies around the city,” said Finkbeiner.
There are 17 members on the committee that meet regularly to plan the campaign, and over 45 volunteers, called "champions" according to Finkbeiner, on campus that coordinate special fund raising events in their respective departments and faculties.
In total, hundreds of Western volunteers ensured the success of the 2018 campaign.