Celebrating our strengths and differences.

About 400 Winnipeggers came together on June 15 at The Forks for United Way’s Community Luncheon & AGM to recognize volunteerism and the great things we accomplish together.

Host CBC’s Marcy Markusa welcomed the, “donors, volunteers, agency partners; friends from labour, business, government and all walks of life,” in attendance, all of whom received a copy of United Way Winnipeg’s 2016-17 Annual Report.

Everyone got a copy of United Way's 2016-17 Annual Report at the Community Luncheon & AGM.

Everyone got a copy of United Way’s 2016-17 Annual Report at the Community Luncheon & AGM.

Marcy recognized how the land – Treaty One Land, homeland of the Metis Nation – “connects us to Winnipeg’s roots – to our community’s roots. It also symbolizes a space that connects us to one another, and to our dreams for a brighter future.”

Marcy Markusa talked about her love for our community, and how our differences make us strong.

Marcy Markusa talked about her love for our community, and how our differences make us strong.

“We gather at this community lunch to recognize and celebrate the difference every single one of you makes in the lives of our fellow Winnipeggers.”

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, acknowledged the amazing generosity of Winnipeggers, who gave more than $20 million last year – the first year of United Way’s community-guided three-year plan to help more kids and families in Winnipeg.

The plan has a two-fold vision, Marilyn said, “that we keep strong an existing network of services, and that we push ourselves as a community to go further to help more kids and families that need help.”

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, gave thanks to the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

Marilyn McLaren, chair of United Way’s volunteer Board of Trustees, gave thanks to the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

The continued generosity of United Way donors, will “keep an essential network of more than 100 agencies, partners and programs stable and available for thousands who access them on a daily basis,” while allowing United Way to advance work under the community plan to provide more mentors for kids, increase mental health supports for youth, offer more job skills and money management training, and ensure families have more neighbourhood-based support close to home through family resource centres.

Marilyn also tipped her hat to representatives from the 100+ United Way-supported agency partners doing such critical work in our city.

“Their tireless efforts ensure that Winnipeggers who need help have somewhere to turn. They offer hope and opportunity to thousands every day. It is difficult to find the words to describe our gratitude for the difference they make in our community.”

Marilyn called volunteers – people that United Way agency partners depend upon – the foundation of all we do.

“Giving of your time and talent to make our community a better place is a special kind of gift that we can all celebrate. Volunteering builds bridges, new relationships, and new understandings. It spreads kindness and love into places where it is needed most.”

Three volunteers retiring from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees were recognized with certificates of appreciation and acknowledgement of their generous contributions – Dr. Neil Besner, Krista Boryskavich, and Dr. Jodene Baker.

Dr. Jodene Baker was one of three volunteers recognized for their contributions upon their retirement from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Jodene Baker was one of three volunteers recognized for their contributions upon their retirement from United Way’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

The day included greetings from the Honourable Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba, and His Worship Mayor Brian Bowman.

Great-West Life and James Richardson & Sons Limited and affiliated companies received the United Way Thanks a Million Award. The annual award is presented to national organizations – and their employees – whose generosity and culture of community spirit stand as an example for all of us to follow.

“Be it as a donor, volunteer, or partner, you are a very real part of changing people’s lives every day in OUR city. Our city still has challenges. We still have work we need to do, together. What is clear, though, is that Winnipeg’s foundation is strong, and it’s future full of hope.”