Rally To Recover – Corporate Culture and Community

June 11, 2020
On Wednesday June 10 we hosted our weekly Local Lunch Break with United Way Winnipeg. We were joined by United Way Winnipeg’s CEO Connie Walker, Dorota Blumczynska, Executive Director of IRCOM and United Way Campaign Chair Dave Angus.

Each panelists took time to share their perspectives on community.

Key community issues impacting Winnipeggers and how how United Way Winnipeg is responding

Connie shared that there is something special about coming together as a community in a united way.

“We are able to provide stable funding for a network of organizations and we are also able to respond to community need. And as mentioned of the last 10 or 11 weeks our community has been in crisis response mode. It has been a crazy time and yet we have seen this community come together and support each other. as we always do, just at a faster pace than I have ever seen in my lifetime and with tremendous results.”

How has United Way Winnipeg been responding since COVID-19 began.

  • On March 13, they sent out a letter to all agency partners to inform them we are headed into uncertain times, but that they are with you.
  • Immediately invested more in two areas: homeless serving organizations and family resource centres
  • Started an initiative to reach vulnerable seniors and within five days were able to setup a system where seniors and family members could call 311 who would transfer the calls to agencies helping to support seniors by understanding the needs of the callers and make the necessary connections.

“We have been through the sprint and what we know now is that we have actually turned the corner and are running a marathon.”

Three areas we need to pay particular attention to this next while:

  • mental health and addiction
  • family stress and child welfare
  • job readiness and job skills
How IRCOM, a community agency funded by United Way Winnipeg, is
​responding to the needs of their participants
Dorota shared a heartfelt message on how her organization was able to continue to support families thanks to United Way Winnipeg.

“What we experienced when the world shifted, when the world in some ways closed it’s doors, was that isolation that many people feel on their own, we began to feel as a community.”

Many of the families IRCOM supports are families of single mothers. They were no longer able to go get groceries, didn’t have access to childcare from neighbours. The IRCOM team began calling each day to ask families: what do you need that we can help with?

2/3 of the people IRCOM supports are children and youth. Dorota mentioned how children lit up the hallways. Running and laughing down the halls.

“We have the great fortune and blessing of seeing children come alive after they have arrived in the safety of Canada. Many of those who have left conflict zone and refugee camps and they are finally in a space where they feel at home… and when COVID hit, the buildings went silent.”

But the community came together in this time of need to support these families. Truckloads of food, books and toys were donated. ​

Tangible ways that your business can rally and create a better
Winnipeg while we recover together

Dave Angus took the time to say how proud he is to be apart of United Way and the business community, and shares way your business can support the recovery of Winnipeg.

“The feeling right now is that we are not together right now, we are isolated, we are separate and we are focused on just getting day-to-day and I think more and more as we go through the summer and the fall there is going to be need in our community to come together.”

It is going to be a tough year for so many and we can’t take the year off. This is a year we dig deep and need  all hands on deck.

It is so important for companies in today’s world, irregardless of COVID, to lead with purpose and be an agent of good and an agent of change and community.

Tangible Ways Your Business Can Support United Way

  • Reach out to United Way directing and find out ways you can start your own campaign.
  • Do an employee workplace campaign – United Way has experience in helping businesses run their own campaigns. Running your own campaign enables employees to get back together to celebrate and renew relationships, to recognize how lucky we are to have each other, but also  to connect everybody back to community.
  • Consider gifting $150 – Johnston Group is matching all new donations of $150, and for donors who were under $150 and move up to $150, Johnston Group is also matching the increase.
  • ​E-pledge with Campaign123 – A campaign for workplaces that want to have a United Way campaign and use our digital giving platform.

Watch the Full Local Lunch Break Now: