A Truly United Way

Imagine…a truly United Way!

John Lennon would be proud. As the Hamilton Spectator reported, the community of Burlington and Greater Hamilton United Way 2011 Campaign celebrated raising more than $6.9 million dollars, revealed at the Bulldogs Game (which they won over the St. John’s Ice Caps!) Friday night at Copps Coliseum. Through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and thanks to the generosity and compassion of our citizens, this United Way has raised $248 million since its beginning 84 years ago. No other charitable organization anywhere consistently raises millions of dollars every year.

One comment I’ve heard over and over during my term as Hamilton Campaign Chair is, “I had no idea that was a United Way funded agency”. That has been “Big Brothers and Big Sisters”, “Kiwanis Boys and Girls Clubs”, the “V.O.N.”, “Meals on Wheels”, and the list is 133 names long. By sharing the stories of just who the United Way is and the people it touches, we rely on media organizations like the Hamilton Spectator to open eyes and hearts to the good work…the essential work… its 73 agencies do everyday, year after year.

These are, to use an expression we hear all too often theses days, tough economic times. As our tax dollars fall short of meeting demand for essential services, the United Way Campaign must compete with multiple fund raising efforts…all with needs just as pressing.

But what if we could work in partnership, to keep people out of food banks, out of shelters, out of hospital emergency rooms, out of acute care beds, out of the correctional system, and happy, healthy and productive in their own homes. That figure works out to one in 3 of us. Think of the dollars we could save and re-channel collectively, preventively.

No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man… imagine all the people sharing all the world. Like John Lennon said, you may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one. My deepest gratitude is to everyone, every individual donor, every corporate and community leader who joined our cause. My dream is to open the eyes and hearts of those who have yet to see the incredible difference they can make. I hope someday you'll join us and our community can live as one.

Connie Smith,

Hamilton Chair,

2011 United Way Campaign

Burlington and Greater Hamilton