The Impact of Your Donation: Calgary United Way

Every fall Calgary’s uw_logo_horiz_colour_idUnited Way campaign kicks off with thousands of volunteers rushing in to support its success.

Every year, for the past three, I carve out time to participate as an Impact Speaker. It is a volunteer contribution I love to give. Prior to my role as an Impact Speaker, I spoke from the perspective of a United Way supported agency, one of hundreds who form the web of supports and services vital to fulfilling on the mission of ensuring Calgary is a great city for everyone.

This year, along with two other Impact Speakers, I was invited to film a video of my personal story. The stories speak of how we have each been directly affected by the United Way and the agencies it works with, and why we believe it’s important to support the cause and get involved.

It is easy in these times of seemingly too many demands on our personal energy and resources, of news of wars and famine and natural disasters desperately calling for our immediate support, to put off contributing or to rationalize not participating in a local fund-raising campaign for an umbrella organization such as the United Way.

“I give directly to the agency of my choice.”

“They spend too much money on administration.”

“They’re too big.”

“I don’t get why we need them.”

“I can’t afford to give,” or “I’m not sure how my giving makes a difference.”

For me, there is one very important reason to give, get involved, take action.

If not me, who? If not now, when?

There are issues that face our communities, society and world today that are so big, I sometimes feel helpless to do anything about them. And in my feelings of helplessness, I tell myself the safest course of action is to draw the circle of my world in real close and hold the ones I love really, really tight to my heart and hearth. I tell myself that I must conserve my resources and compress my circle of influence into a smaller and smaller circumference as if in the act of minimizing my worldly footprint, I will be safer, or untouchable, or even invisible to marauding eyes and the things I fear are out there, lurking, wanting to harm me and the ones I love.

Fact is, burying my head in the sand does nothing but leave my butt exposed.

It also leaves me exposed to all the buts I utter to convince myself and others there’s nothing we can do to change the world.

And that just ain’t true.

There is lots we can each do to create change, to create the world we want to live in. And it begins at home. Right here, in our own sphere of influence, in the circle of our impact.

And for me, that means, supporting the United Way.

Not just because they are doing vital work I know is necessary to change the socio/economic fabric of our city, but also because, I know I cannot do it alone. I know none of us can.

Together we are stronger. Together we are united.

Giving to the United Way makes me feel better about what I’m doing to create possibilities for greatness in my own life and in our city. It lets me focus on the things I love to do within my own immediate sphere of influence with the confidence that there is a bigger picture at play, and that big picture vision of a great city for everyone is being attended to with passion and the commitment of thousands of my fellow Calgarians who with me, are holding space for the vision to become true for all of us.

And in holding space together, I don’t feel all alone. I don’t feel so small and I definitely don’t feel helpless.

The Impact of Your Donation: Jeremy Nixon

The Impact of Your Donation: LeeAnne

The Impact of Your Donation: Louise Gallagher