United Way hopes to close 2020 fundraising gap

The United Way of Thunder Bay is hoping people will show their support for the agency on Tuesday, and help close a projected $300,000-plus fundraising gap brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday marks the United Way’s first-ever Show Your Local Love Day, CEO Albert Brule said, and the aim of the day to help raise awareness of the work the United Way does in the city, as well as encourage support for this year’s fundraising efforts.

“So many charities in our community, across Canada, have all been impacted by COVID-19, Brule said. “In-person events, in most cases, have had to be cancelled.”

“It could be anything from a raffle to a barbecue to a pancake breakfast, so many of these kinds of events have had to be cancelled,” he said. “It’s actually quite stunning how much those little events, those little donations, add up.”

Because of those cancellations, Brule said the United Way is forecasting a fundraising shortfall of between $300,000 to $360,000 this year, when compared to previous years (the United Way of Thunder Bay no longer releases a fundraising campaign goal).

The United Way’s fundraising efforts go to support a number of community agencies and programs, and Brule said they’ve been notified that the shortfall is a possibility.

“We still have … just over four weeks to go before the campaign is completed,” he said. “That’s part of the motivation for the Show Your Local Love Day, and the opportunity for people to maybe make up for those little donations that they might have provided at work.”

However, if the campaign does fall short this year, the United Way is working on ways to minimize the impact.

“We are committed to working with our partners to find, perhaps, alternative ways that we can help ensure that the programs and services and supports do not suffer to the degree that they might,” Brule said. “We’re going to look at ways of enhancing collaboration, maybe looking at joint offerings of services.”

Donations can be made in-person at the United Way office, Brule said, but due to the pandemic, the doors are locked and all visitors must be screened.

The easier and safer way to donate is via the United Way of Thunder Bay’s website, he said.

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