If there could be one thing more vital to a community than a charity, that one thing would be a charity that helps other charities keep doing the wonderful things they do. In our province, that entity is United Way NL. They’re second only to the government as far as a funder of the social sector goes.

United Way NL constantly raises money, and constantly accepts applications from local registered charities who need that money for their projects and initiatives.

United Way is particularly inclined towards causes that will do one of three things: 1.) Move individuals from “poverty into possibility,” 2.) Foster “healthy people, strong communities,” and 3.) Ensure kids can be “all that kids can be.”

A Community Investment Committee comes together regularly to evaluate each application. To date, United Way has invested nearly 4 million in community fund grants, impacted 128 community groups province-wide, and made 388 projects/programs possible.

Their goodwill comes from goodwill: their modus of operandi is a positive karmic cycle, in that their mainline of money comes from businesses throughout the province, in a variety of ways, from direct corporate donations to their Community Fund, to pledges wherein an employee deducts a certain amount per paycheque to United Way, to employee campaigns as simple as Halloween Dress-up or Jeans Day, where employees pay to wear something, and the proceeds go to United Way.

Other workplace campaigns can be short, wild workplace events like a Sumo Wrestling challenge with entry fees split between the winner and United Way. There’s even been 50/50 draws, bake sales, and every type of event where employees collect donations from family and friends.

The model works wonders, when driven properly. 2009’s workplace campaign raised a record $1.1 million dollars for them to spread among local charities. Outside of raising money, many organizations participate in United Way’s volunteer “Day of Caring” events, where United Way partners workplace teams with charities needing a helping hand.

“We are a charity working to advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our province. Our vision for Newfoundland and Labrador is a province where all of our neighborhoods are healthy, vibrant places to work, live, and raise a family.”

Their mission statement is clear and community-minded: improve lives and build community by mobilizing collective action.

Initially established here as “United Way of Avalon,” it quickly evolved into a provincial organization, and is in fact the fastest growing branch of United Way Centraide Canada. They now  distribute 4 times the amount raised in their first campaign; for the fifth year in a row, their 2015 Community Fund distributed over half a million dollars in grants.

Their website – http://www.nl.unitedway.ca – lists the many, many organizations they’ve helped do what they do, from For the Love of Learning and The Labrador Friendship Centre, to Planned Parenthood and Buckmasters Circle Community Centre. They are making this province a better place to live, plain and simple. So thanks, United Way NL, on behalf of all of us, for your hard and worthwhile work.