United on the Waterfront

Jim Belsheim, President & CEO, Gonzalo Benitez, VP Finance and Administration, and Rob Booker, Senior VP Operations and Maintenance kicked-off the United Way campaign by serving up a pancake breakfast for employees.

Feature Community Partner: An interview with United Way of the Lower Mainland

Each year, Neptune Terminals’ staff and unionized employees from ILWU locals 500 and 514, along with other companies and unions working on the waterfront, join together to raise money for the United Way. This year, Neptune raised more than $154,000 through employee contributions and corporate matching.

In 2017, the United Way invested $1.1 million with 35 different organizations on the North Shore. The funding made possible 46 programs and initiatives to help children and families, seniors, new immigrants and First Nations peoples in the community.

We spoke to Brenda Aynsley, Vice-President of Resource Development for United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) about their efforts on the North Shore and how employee donations and corporate matching from organizations like Neptune help UWLM support programs in our community.

How much did the Waterfront United Campaign raise this year?

Overall, the Waterfront United Initiative raised $525,000, $350,000 of which was raised by organizations like Neptune, that are located on the North Shore.

What percentage of United Way donations come from corporate fundraising (and matching, if you know)?

In terms of the workplace gifts we receive, 24% are corporate gifts and 76% are from employees through payroll deductions, but this varies from one organization to the next. Neptune has many generous employee donors, and the company matches employee dollars at a ratio of 2 to 1, which goes a long way to encourage employee giving.

Photo courtesy United Way of the Lower Mainland

Can you explain the process behind the United Way choosing to support a program?

We fund in grant streams: children (0-6), a School’s Out initiative for middle years (6-12), and seniors. Organizations that are providing programming in those areas apply to us for funding and decisions are made based on specific criteria. In 2017, the United Way was supporting 35 organizations on the North Shore and through those organizations, 46 different programs and initiatives.

Photo courtesy United Way of the Lower Mainland

Can you give us an overview on some of the programs United Way helps make possible on the North Shore?

One of our big initiatives is to support School’s Out programming, which provides after school activities between the hours of 3-6pm for any kids who need it. We fund the program on the North Shore because we recognized a need in the community. There are many kids between the ages of 6-12 who don’t have the opportunity to take part in after school activities like dance or volleyball, with both parents working and the costs of these programs. And one of the highlights is that some of the kids who have participated in the program, stay on as mentors.

You wouldn’t think that the North Shore would need programs like this, but they do. To meet some of the need, we have developed solid partnerships with agencies, the school districts and local government and we are also lucky to have such strong support from Neptune and other local waterfront companies in this area.

Photo courtesy United Way of the Lower Mainland

Two other agencies on the North Shore that benefit from United Way funding are Family Services of the North Shore and the Northshore Neighbourhood House. Both of these organizations receive funds from United Way to maintain programs that support all three priority groups: early years (0-6), middle years (6-12) and seniors programming.

For more information on the United Way of the Lower Mainland, visit their website.