United Way is celebrating 70 United Years

Media Release
April 18, 2017

Windsor, ON –  United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County was incorporated on October 24, 1947 and since that time has had the privilege of supporting kids, families, and seniors in our community through some tremendous partnerships and dedicated supporters.

70 Years reUnited Co-chairs Adrian Vido and Gary Parent at the April 18 Media Launch

This year, United Way has big plans to celebrate its 70th birthday by bringing together the hundreds of people who have volunteered, donated and supported United Way over the past seven decades and to say thank you with some unique activities, as well as looking to the future of United Way in our community at an event called 70 Years reUnited, taking place on the evening of Nov. 10, 2017. 

“United Way has changed since I was involved decades ago. It makes funding decisions based on a strategic framework with a laser focus on its priorities, and that’s an impressive step forward,” says Adrian Vido, 70 Years reUnited Co-Chair. “Now is the time for everyone to get reacquainted with United Way.”

“I have never been prouder to be a part of this organization, for its efforts to improve the quality of life for so many people in Windsor and Essex County,” says fellow Co-Chair Gary Parent. “It’s time to celebrate those achievements.”

The event will be a party, and an interactive, visual experience through the last seven decades, as well as a reunion for past supporters to reconnect and socialize. People will be able to learn about the history of United Way in the local community, and hear some great stories.

Many companies, unions, volunteers, and individual supporters have helped get United Way to 70 years strong.  That’s why United Way wants to hear from the public to collect pictures, artifacts and stories about their memories of United Way over the years. We encourage everyone share their stories and memories between now and the BIG event in November.

Join our Facebook Event page to upload stories, photos or videos, and each month we will give away two free tickets to the event, from amongst the entries. Other ways to connect with us include visiting our 70 Years reUnited web page where we will post stories and event details, and people can email photos, memories and selfie videos to 70years@weareunited.com.  To volunteer for the event, contact the United Way office at 519-258-0000 ext 1178.

A Legacy of Giving

It all began when the Chamber of Commerce and Labour (namely Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Canada, General Motors and Hiram Walker and Sons and their associated unions) worked together to create the Community Fund, which would later become United Way.  The goal was to bring together the social agencies serving the community and develop a teamwork approach - being able to do collectively the things they were trying to do separately.

Starting with that first year the ‘Big 4’ and their unions would spearhead a fundraising drive of employee contributions and corporate dollars to support the Community Fund.  That community effort led to the formal creation of our local United Way in 1973. Through the leadership of the ‘Big 4’ companies, more organizations have come on board each year making today’s United Way annual campaign one of the largest in the region, and demonstrating the generosity and commitment of local companies and unions to helping those in need in our community.

In 1973, the ‘Big 4’ initiated another critical stage in the evolution of United Way with the creation of the Campaign Lead Team approach, which combined corporate responsibility and community leadership to ensure continuity in meeting human service needs in the community. For more than 30 years Chrysler Canada, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Hiram Walker and Sons led the annual campaign on a rotating basis while still being dedicated to maintaining their individual financial commitment to the annual United Way campaign.

The goal of the Campaign Lead Team approach was to provide stability to United Way funding. It was also an organized way to manage the fundraising campaign, minimize the number of charitable requests going to donors, ensure the funds were used efficiently, have corporate and employee involvement in leadership and decision making, provide an opportunity for recognition as a corporate citizen and recognition of employee involvement.

As you can see, United Way would not be where we are today without the unwavering support of our inaugural leaders Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Canada, General Motors and Hiram Walker and Sons. We are grateful to have this opportunity to recognize and thank them as we celebrate our 70th year.

Media Contact:  Karen Brady, Interim Vice President Marketing & Communications
kbrady@weareunited.com   |  Work: 519-258-0000 x1213  |  Cell: 519-564-8554
Twitter @UnitedWayWE  |  Facebook: United Way Windsor-Essex   |
Instagram: UnitedWayWE   |   LinkedIn

United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County mobilizes the caring power of the local community to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways. The United Way focuses on three priority areas: moving people from POVERTY TO POSSIBILITY, helping KIDS BE ALL THEY CAN BE, and building STRONG COMMUNITIES.  Additional information is available at www.weareunited.com.





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United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
300 Giles Boulevard East, Unit A1
Windsor, Ontario N9A 4C4
t: 519-258-0000 | f: 519-258-2346
Charitable Registration #: 10816 0334 RR0001