Celebrating 50 years in our community!

Fifty years ago today, on May 11, 1965, leaders came together to form United Way of Winnipeg. They believed it would bring a sense of hope, community spirit and pride to our city.

Indeed after raising more money than ever expected that first year ($2.8 million), W. L. Palk, Vice President Campaign and Public Relations wrote –

“We proved there is no limit to the generosity of the people who live in this great city. Our victory returned to the heart and soul of Winnipeg hope, spirit, pride and person-to-person responsibility.” 1965 annual report

May 11, 2015—a day to celebrate our caring, compassionate community!

We’re grateful today for all the friends across the city who show us support in so many ways—donating, volunteering, sharing and spreading the word. Many helped make the launch of our 50th celebrations a success.

The mayor raised our flag over City Hall this morning. It reads “For a better Winnipeg.”

United Way flag raising ceremony at City Hall.

United Way flag raising ceremony at City Hall.

Our flag also flies at Portage and Main today.

United Way flags over Portage & Main.

United Way flags over Portage & Main.

Gathered at Portage and Main.

Many friends braved the chilly wind at Portage and Main for a media conference, blessed by Elder Florence Paynter. Board Chair Herb Peters hosted, and we heard from Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, Mayor Brian Bowman, Hartley Richardson, Ayn Wilcox, and youth volunteer Victoria Truong.

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“The power of the people is an unstoppable force.” –Hartley Richardson, whose family has truly led the way.

United Way's founding, 50 years ago.

United Way’s founding, 50 years ago.

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L-R: Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, Dave Angus of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Brian Bowman, United Way President & CEO Connie Walker, Dave Sauer of the Winnipeg Labour Council, Hartley Richardson.

Victoria was tasked with taking Winnipeg’s Biggest Selfie, an homage to the vintage United Way flag photo of our founding 50 years ago, which we think she pulled off beautifully.

Winnipeg's Biggest Selfie, full of Winnipeg's biggest supporters.

Winnipeg’s Biggest Selfie, full of Winnipeg’s biggest supporters.

Winnipeg Wednesdays

Today we also launched Winnipeg Wednesdays, to help you find your favourite way to celebrate! Our volunteer 50th Anniversary Committee has activities planned for every Wednesday in June.

Visit WinnipegWednesday.ca!

Visit WinnipegWednesday.ca and find YOUR way to celebrate Winnipeg!

Wednesday June 3 is Conscious Kindness! It’s a day to show we’re the kindest city in Canada. Pledge your acts of kindness now and be extra kind on June 3!

Wednesday June 10 is Red Tables! We’re encouraging Winnipeggers to meet, eat and share ideas about a better Winnipeg. A kit is available on the website (PDF) to host your own Red Table dinner.

Wednesday June 17 is Make it Happen! Family resource centres are located in neighbourhoods across our city and offer a safe place for coffee and to do laundry, programming like financial counselling, job skills and parenting and much more. They make a big difference for thousands of families each year. These centres need some basic things – like couches, computers, a play structure. Between now and June 17, we hope to make 18 crowdfunding projects happen

Wednesday June 24 we wrap it up with One Night for WinnipegWinnipeggers are invited to a free concert at the Forks featuring some of Winnipeg’s hottest performers, all in celebration of a kind, caring Winnipeg.

We hope to see you!

Come out to any of these events in June. Talk to us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Watch us on Periscope. Call us at 477-5360. Heck, drop by 580 Main. Sometimes there’s cupcakes.

We’re always happy to answer questions, chat about your ideas for a better Winnipeg, and meet other Winnipeggers who dream of turning this city into a place where everyone belongs, everyone has a chance, and everyone can succeed.

Thank you for 50 wonderful years, Winnipeg.