There is new funding for charities that make an impact in the Central Okanagan, thanks to United Way. The application can be downloaded at unitedwaycso.com or by calling 250-860-2356. Charities are encouraged to submit their applications quickly; those received at the United Way office by September 6 will receive a decision by the end of September.
“Our new grants program targets one-time investments that make a real difference in our priority areas,” says Marla O’Brien, Executive Director. “We wanted to open the doors to new ways of investing in our communities, as well as creating new partners in the charitable sector for the United Way.”
The Pets and People Visiting Society is a great example of a local charity that made use of the grants program to change lives for the better. Pets and People volunteers come from all walks of life and all ages, but they all share one thing, a desire to share with others the healing touch that only pets can provide. The society provides the opportunity for hospital patients and care facility residents to visit with friendly pets and their owners. These visits provide warmth and companionship to reminisce, and the simple pleasure of interacting with a friendly pet. Pets and People has no paid staff.
This organization received an Impact Project grant of $1600 in 2013 to cover expenses such as insurance, event fees, and promotional materials. This grant will allow the pets to make an average of 56 therapeutic visits per month. Each visit can positively impact all of the residents and employees of any facility. Up to 1000 people a month might benefit from the service, which is a terrific return on a small investment.
Most people are familiar with the traditional member agency style of annual funding offered by United Way, something that O’Brien says United Way is continuing, while adding new types of investments to the mix.
“United Way strives to be more than a funder. We’re responding to shifts in our community and emerging needs, thanks to the generosity of our supporters,” says O’Brien. “We work with over a hundred not-for-profit organizations through our programs, capacity-building initiatives, and investment portfolio. This grants program gives us new strategies to make positive changes happen.”
Those new strategies include funds for pilot programs, collaborations between charities, events, necessary renovations, and emergency situations. With good success in the 2013 pilot round, United Way CSO hopes to open the grants program up to charities in the South Okanagan in the coming year.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.