Great-West Life’s volunteer marathon!

About 80 Great-West Life employees show they care as part of the company’s national Day of Caring Project Drive.

Over the past two weeks purple-shirted employees from Great-West Life in Winnipeg gave their time and energy to make Winnipeg better through 10 back-to-back United Way Days of Caring.

forwebIMG_8390

A United Way Day of Caring is a chance for volunteers; usually groups organized through a workplace, to help change lives in Winnipeg by helping community organizations complete short-term projects that need a little extra people power.

Caring, and smiling, at North End Women's Centre Betty Berg House.

Caring, and smiling, at North End Women’s Centre Betty Berg House.

The Days of Caring were part of a national drive by Great-West – a founding partner of United Way of Winnipeg – that saw almost 400 employees helping out with 40 projects in Winnipeg and Montreal, London, Toronto and Regina.

Jan Belanger, Vice-President of Community Relations for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, says staff appreciate high-impact volunteer opportunities in their communities.

“Along with building relationships with United Way agencies and the people who benefit from their services, they’re also getting to know their colleagues better, outside of everyday workplace contact.”

The companies organized Days of Caring across Canada to lead off their 2015 United Way workplace fundraising campaigns, Belanger added.

It’s the 3rd year they have done the national blitz of caring, which includes a $500 donation to each agency.

In Winnipeg employees helped out at seven organizations, including several United Way agency partners.

Two separate groups of volunteers spent two days at the Betty Berg House – a house operated by the North End Women’s Centre to help women who have been experiencing homelessness transition their lives to independent living.

Prepping for painting at the Betty Berg House.

Prepping for painting at the Betty Berg House.

The Great-West crews prepared and painted six bedrooms used by women at the house, which had not seen fresh paint in about 10 years.

Making bedrooms bright again.

Making bedrooms bright again.

“It’s amazing, it helps us so much. This house really needed an uplift, and there’s no way I would have had the time to paint the bedrooms,” said house mentor Jenny Foster.

Another Day of Caring winterized a community garden in the West End that has space for growing and playing.

Cleaning up The Kids' Garden

Cleaning up The Kids’ Garden

The Kids’ Garden is maintained by Spence Neighbourhood Association and sits next to the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, where SNA runs programming for children and youth.

forwebSNA1-Oct13

Children from SNA’s Building Belonging program – an after school program that provides nutritious food, activities, and help with homework to kids aged 6 to 12 – use the garden space to play in and for growing food that they harvest and eat.

Great-West employees also helped at United Way’s Koats for Kids, Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre, Pregnancy and Family Support Services, The WestEnd Commons, and Art City. They also acted in volunteer roles for two Living on the Edge poverty simulations, which help participants gain an understanding of the challenges faced by people living in poverty.

Assembling a closet system for the Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre.

Assembling a closet system for the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre.

Getting Art City ready for a dinosaur party requires prehistoric scenery.

Getting Art City ready for a dinosaur party requires prehistoric scenery.

Keep scrolling to see photos of the Days of Caring teams!

Bringing the warmth at Koats for Kids.

Bringing the warmth at Koats for Kids.

The Koats for Kids crew helped sort and create bundles of mitts, hats, scarves and coats to keep Winnipeg children warm this winter.

The Koats for Kids crew helped sort and create bundles of mitts, hats, scarves and coats to keep Winnipeg children warm this winter.

On the job cleaning up WestEnd Commons resource centre and common areas.

On the job cleaning up WestEnd Commons resource centre and common areas.

Helpers at the Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre, where they installed a closet system and organized items.

Helpers at the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre, where they installed a closet system and organized items.

The painting preppers.

The painting preppers.

The painters.

The painters.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, first day.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, first day.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, second day.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, second day.

Great-West helpers painted two offices and a kitchen at Pregnancy & Family Support Services.

Great-West helpers painted two offices and a kitchen at Pregnancy & Family Support Services.

Toby Gillies, studio coordinator at Art City, receives a $500 cheque from Great-West volunteers (who also helped build a dinosaur habitat) to help fund their kids' art programs.

Toby Gillies, studio coordinator at Art City, receives a $500 cheque from Great-West volunteers (who also helped build a dinosaur habitat) to help fund kids’ art programs.

Thank you to all the wonderful Great-West Life employees for making Winnipeg better!

Andrea from North End Women's Centre made bannock for both shifts of volunteers at the Betty Berg House!

Andrea from North End Women’s Centre made bannock for both shifts of volunteers at the Betty Berg House!

The perfect match for moms and babies.

It’s a beautiful thing when an offer of help matches perfectly with a real need. The result? A perfect Day of Caring for healthy moms and babies.

United Way partner agency Pregnancy and Family Support Services (PFSS) submitted a Day of Caring request for some new flooring in their Family Resource Centre on Spence Street—a space where they host prenatal and Baby & Me classes.

The old floor—well-used carpet now nearly a decade old—wasn’t looking very clean, and was unsuitable for babies to crawl on.

The old floors at PFSS.

In a stroke of good luck, our friends at Architecture 49 asked us if we knew anyone who needs new flooring. It seems some good people at Studio Floors required installation training for premium rubber flooring made by nora, and they hoped to find somewhere to practice.

This past March the two came together and the perfect match was transformed into a clean, new space for moms and babies.

Of course, floor installation is a good time for a paint job! Enter some wonderful Day of Caring volunteers from Great-West Life and Johnston Group, who quickly stepped in to paint the trim and walls of the centre’s front entrance, food room, boardroom and hallway.

Great-West Life volunteers in action

Great-West Life volunteers in action.

A caring group from the Johnston Group outside the centre.

A caring group from the Johnston Group outside the centre.

With paint job complete, a technical trainer from nora guided Studio Floors’ professional team to install new commercial rubber flooring – all at no cost to the centre!

The team from nora and Studio Floors

The team from nora and Studio Floors.

Rhonda Cenerini, acting executive director at PFSS, is thankful for the generosity of everyone involved.

“It is amazing. It is so clean and easy to keep clean, and so bright & colourful.”

Rhonda says the impact for mothers and their babies has been very positive.

The health and cleanliness of the space is amazing. We’re very confident now allowing babies to crawl around and letting mom lay on mats on the floor.”


Pregnancy and Family Support Services, an inner-city United Way agency partner, has a mission of offering services that support pregnant women, foster family life, empower individuals and grow community. Visit them online at www.pfsswinnipeg.com

Congratulations to our 2012 Student Community Service Awards recipients

Forty-eight deserving students from 46 schools have been presented with Youth United Student Community Service Awards!

The award is presented to Grade 11 students in participating high schools, celebrating and promoting youth volunteerism. The award proved to be a great success yet again this year – congratulations to our 2012 recipients and special thank you to our sponsor, Great-West Life!

Student Community Service Award winners

Student Community Service Award winners celebrate at their award reception

Dylan Alexander Argyle Alternative High School
Natasha Comeau Balmoral Hall School
Amy Bousquet Children of the Earth High School
Carrie Resendes Churchill High School
Daniel Kevany Collège Beliveau
Callum Tomkins-Flanagan Collège Churchill
Megan Kelly Collège Jeanne-Sauvé
Lauren Hadaller Collège Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Kathryn Kohanik Dakota Collegiate
Devon Sanclemente Ecole Edward Schreyer School
Caralynn Clarke Elmwood High School
Daisy Liu Fort Richmond Collegiate
Ness Medina Garden City Collegiate
Jack Walker Glenlawn Collegiate
Colleen Chau Gordon Bell High School
Orly Baisburd Grant Park High School
Xuesong Li Grant Park High School
Yael Borovich Gray Academy
Nick Mostert Immanuel Christian School
Brittany Fingland J.H. Bruns
Katelyn Sass John Taylor Collegiate
Lovejot Mann Kildonan East Collegiate
Jasleen Sandhu Maples Collegiate
Ramona Spade Marymound School
Joshua Epp Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute
Samantha Worden Murdoch Mackay Collegiate Institute
Mackenzie Jamieson Oak Park High School
Gabriela Harper R.B. Russell High School
Isabella Selk River East Collegiate
Michael Archer Shaftesbury High School
Tanisha Lughas St. Boniface Diocesan High School
Tamika Lughas St. Boniface Diocesan High School
André Smith St. James Collegiate
Aleksandra Manzhura St. John’s High School
Joel Brodovsky-Adams St. John’s-Ravenscourt School
Landon Falk St. Mary’s Academy
Kasia Kieloch St. Maurice School
Erin Cummins St. Norbert Collegiate
Richard Rino St. Paul’s High School
Stephanie Zappia Sturgeon Heights Collegiate
Ryan Saunders Tech Voc High School
Devon Gillingham Transcona Collegiate
Cassidy Mann University of Winnipeg Collegiate
Meghan Fehr Vincent Massey Collegiate
Kaylee Rae Toews Westgate Mennonite Collegiate
Alexa Hoy West Kildonan Collegiate Institute
Ian Hill Westwood Collegiate
Erik Olivar Windsor Park Collegiate

United Way achieves new national accreditation standard.

United Way of Winnipeg is proud to be part of Imagine Canada's new national accreditation program.Imagine Canada announced its new Standards Program today, and United Way of Winnipeg is pleased to be one of the first organizations to meet the full accreditation requirements.

Designed to strengthen public confidence in the charitable and non-profit sector, the program offers a Canada-wide set of 73 standards for charities and non-profits to strengthen their capacity in five fundamental areas:

  • Board Governance
  • Financial Accountability and Transparency
  • Ethical Fundraising
  • Staff Management
  • Volunteer Management

“Now, more than ever before, it is important for charities and nonprofits to keep the hard-earned confidence and trust of the public,” said Marcel Lauzière, President and CEO of Imagine Canada.

“An organization that has been accredited through this program has demonstrated that it has put in place the policies, procedures and practices to make it a truly effective organization.”

The standards of accreditation are rigorous, and United Way of Winnipeg participated as part of a pilot group that helped to test and validate the accreditation process.

“The fact that United Way of Winnipeg was prepared and equipped to qualify is only because of the quality of volunteer leadership this organization has enjoyed for the last 46 years,” said Susan Lewis, United Way’s President and CEO.

“Their dedication to our community and commitment to excellence is reflected in this accreditation.”

Elizabeth Marr, United Way’s current Board Chair, emphasized that the Standards Program will help to strengthen the non-profit sector as a whole. “Beyond strengthening public confidence, we believe this program will help us work with our agency partners in building their capacity in the areas of governance, accountability, transparency and management.”

Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, one of United Way of Winnipeg’s largest corporate supporters and a key advocate for the success of the national non-profit sector, is the founding and presenting sponsor of the Imagine Canada Standards Program.

Annual luncheon captures ripple effect in motion

Every day in our city, the impact of thousands of Winnipeggers’ actions – through United Way – ripple out into our community, touching lives; creating hope, stability and opportunity.

Comm news - AGM 2010 - Jun17/10

A live presentation by United Way volunteers, agency partners and clients showcased how Winnipeggers' generosity is making waves in our community

That was the message heard by close to 900 loyal friends, supporters, volunteers and agency partners who attended United Way of Winnipeg’s annual general luncheon on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

“Our actions, contributions and values – expressed through United Way – are rippling out into our community every day, making it stronger and more resilient,” said emcee Anna Fontaine, a member of United Way’s board of trustees and director of Indian and Northern Affairs for Manitoba. “This event is an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved over the past year and to meet some of the people who have both experienced and influenced these ripples.”

The Honourable Kerri Irvin-Ross, Manitoba’s Minister of Housing and Community Development brought greetings on behalf of the Province and His Worship Mayor Sam Katz spoke for the City.

Cargill Limited, James Richardson & Sons Limited (and affiliated companies), and the Great-West Life Assurance Company were all recognized for contributing more than $1 million each in 2009 through the combined efforts of their employees, management and affiliated unions. As well, the event paid tribute to the dedication of United Way’s volunteer leadership.

The highlight was a live presentation by volunteers, agency partners and clients showcasing how support for United Way has impacted their own lives and set in motion a wave of change that extends beyond what we can see today – change that will ultimately transform all our lives.

At the end of the presentation, guests were given a stone painted with the word “You” as a reminder of the power each of us has to create a ripple and make a difference.

“Change starts with you,” said Kingsley Bowles, presentation narrator and good friend to United Way. “Together, we make anything possible.”

At the event, guests were also treated to a first glimpse of United Way’s 2009/10 annual report, which contains many more examples of the impact Winnipeggers’ generosity of spirit is having in our city. As well, following the luncheon, guests were invited to stay for United Way’s annual general meeting, during which United Way’s 2010/11 board of trustees was elected.

Thank you to everyone who attended the luncheon and all those who are creating their own ripples through United Way!