United Way effort kicks off

Andrew Lockie knows what London is facing.

As executive director of United Way London & Middlesex, he has seen demand for United Way-funded services skyrocket as the city faces one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

“Coming into this year’s campaign it was hard not to say ‘How can we raise more money with the economy and unemployment making it much more difficult?’” says Lockie, who begins his third campaign as director. “What we chose to do was say ‘They need us more now than they’ve needed us before.’

“We’re not going step back; we’re going to step up.”

As part of the effort, The University of Western Ontario unveiled its goal of $650,000 at an Oct. 14 event. For the 10th straight year, Western looks to increase its donation. Last year’s $631,487 was the largest single donation ever to United Way London & Middlesex.

This year’s campus campaign is off to a quick start with more than $110,000 already raised, thus bringing Western’s United Way fundraising totals since 1994 to more than $7 million.

“We have a long history of supporting the United Way and helping our community. We say it’s Western’s contribution, but Western is all about people and these contributions make a difference,” Chakma says.

This year’s citywide campaign has set a target of $8.5 million, which Lockie feels is attainable, in part, because of the partnership United Way has built with Western over all these years.

“I’m so impressed with Western’s role and they are a critical element of our campaign,” he says. “There are no corporate gifts with Western and this is a testament to the generosity of the people and the tremendous faith they have about the role we play in the community.”

Western sponsored employee Lisa Lopes says now more than ever the Western community need to support change.

“We are such a compassionate group here at Western and if there is a group that can exceed, let alone meet the $650,000 goal, it’s us,” Lopes says. “We need to make positive things happen in our community and each one of us has an opportunity to make that change.”

To learn more about this year’s campaign, visit unitedway.uwo.ca.