‘Transformative’ matching-funds boost announced for United Way-supported Family Resource Centres.

Province announces matching funds for a United Way-led special initiative aiming to help more Winnipeg kids and families.

United Way Winnipeg is excited by today’s announcement of a new matching funds partnership with the Government of Manitoba to support Family Resource Centres (FRC) – places that are essential to the health and well-being of our children, their families, and our communities.

Under this partnership, the province will match donations to this special initiative of United Way in support of family resource centres, up to $1.5 million per year to help areas with the highest needs over a five-year period.

Elder Velma Orvis opens with a prayer.

Elder Velma Orvis opens with a prayer.

Elder Velma Orvis opened the announcement event in United Way’s atrium on Tuesday with a prayer. She thanked the Province of Manitoba and “everyone here today, all the caregivers and the executive directors from all the organizations.”

Executive directors from 23 of 24 United Way-supported FRCs were present to hear the announcement of this special new partnership.

Premier Greg Selinger

“Family Resource Centres are an invaluable source of support for many parents and children in our province,” said Premier Selinger.

“By helping family resource centres provide sustained, accessible and quality early childhood programming, we can better support families and ensure more children are fully ready to begin school and thrive from the experience.”

Bob Silver, president of Western Glove and co-chair of the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council, said FRCs are a way to prevent issues and costs down the road. He likened the investment to changing the oil in a car rather than waiting to change the engine.

Bob Silver applauded the province's commitment.

Bob Silver applauded the province’s commitment.

“We applaud the commitment to match the contributions made to For Every Family,” said Silver.

“There is no better agency in the province, probably in Canada, to administer this than United Way Winnipeg. They know the community, the know how to bring it together, and they know how to stretch every dollar.”

David Johnston, president of Johnston Group, said the strengthening of Family Resource Centres could be “transformational for Winnipeg.”

David Johnston said the FRC initiative could transform Winnipeg.

David Johnston said the FRC initiative could transform Winnipeg.

Johnston is leading the special philanthropy effort to raise funds specifically for the FRC initiative, which he calls “a model rooted in trust, respect, and responsiveness. And it’s working. Through this partnership we believe we can increase availability and accessibility of this model.”

“We’re only halfway there, because what we asked for and received was a matching gift, so now we need to put those dollars in place.”

Those dollars will be well spent at FRCs, said Dilly Knol, founder and executive director of the Andrews Street Family Centre.

Dilly Knol, founder and executive director of Andrews Street Family Centre, said FRCs prevent social problems.

Dilly Knol, founder and executive director of Andrews Street Family Centre, said FRCs prevent social problems.

“Someone else would spend $5 million to do what Family Resource Centres will do with only $1.5 million.”

Everyday throughout our city, family resource centres open their doors to kids and families in their neighbourhoods, offering a welcoming, non–judgemental, lifeline. They wrap around families to identify what they need to achieve their goals.

Neighbourhoods have unique needs, and FRCs respond with programs and supports for families in safe, welcoming and nurturing environments close to home.

Special priority areas the new FRC initiative will support include expanded hours, early childhood development programming, food and nutrition, parent coaches and counselling, literacy and opportunities for volunteering and employment.

In 2014 United Way-supported FRCs provided support to over 35,000 people.

Elaine David of the North End Women's Centre's Buffalo Gals drum group closed the day with a Humbling Song.

Elaine David of the North End Women’s Centre’s Buffalo Gals drum group closed the day with a Humbling Song.

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