The United Way of Hastings and Prince Edward announced its fundraising total for 2017 at an Achievement Breakfast this morning (Wednesday) in Belleville.
The United Way, which funds 75 agencies/and or programs locally, raised $1,864,000, short of its 1.97 million dollar goal.
In 2016, over 1.96 million dollars was raised.
Executive Director Kathy Murphy said the 2017 campaign went extremely well considering Procter and Gamble had cancelled its product donations to the United Way, choosing instead to send free product south of the border to aid with hurricane relief.
“We started out $160,000 down and we managed to get a chunk of that back so I’m very proud of the campaign and everyone involved with it. The shortfall is concerning, but we are working on a contingency plan which we will have ready in a few days, and we hope our agencies and programs won’t be seriously affected”.
Keynote speaker at the breakfast was Master Corporal (Ret.) Denise Hepburn, a four time bronze medal winner at the Invictus Games. The Games are for armed forces personnel suffering from injury or illness.
She described being almost totally withdrawn after suffering a broken neck in a military training exercise along with mental anguish caused by practising as a Medic on tours in Afghanistan.
Soldier On, a program offered by the Canadian military and supported by the United Way, helped her become the person she used to be and led to the Invictus Games.
“The Games and the support of my family and friends really helped me through. It’s unbelievable how the human spirit can triumph, no matter how bad the injury and emotional
Local businessman and philanthropist Maurice Rollins was again praised for his “Leadership Challenge”, which raised over $100,000 from others in 2017. Mr. Rollins matches the total donated by others every year.
He will be honoured later today by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell in Toronto.
The largest donations of the campaign were made by Procter and Gamble, 8 Wing Trenton, and the City of Belleville.
The Volunteer of the Year is Chris Houlden of Continuing on in Education.