United Way a key part of community

The month of December is noted as a time of giving and recognizing the challenges of people in need. Supporting the United Way is one such way to make a difference.

This year, the University of Lethbridge's United Way campaign is taking on a different look. A new website ( speaks to the benefit of the community organization and how its impact is felt by virtually everyone in southern Alberta.

Clark Ferguson, the University's chief information officer, has taken up the charge as campaign Chair, and he's eager to share his reasons for supporting the United Way.

"As a relative newcomer to the city, I've been looking for opportunities to connect with people in the community and share my skills and experience," says Ferguson. "I am so impressed with the United Way's impact and I think it's important to understand just how far they reach into the community and how valuable it is we support the agencies and programs they provide."

Clark Ferguson
Clark Ferguson is the University's 2011 United Way campaign Chair.

The United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta supports a total of 21 different agencies and 25 programs, things that impact our families, friends, neighbours and co-workers. From the Big Brothers Big Sisters to Boys & Girls Clubs, the Canadian Red Cross and the St. John's Ambulance, the United Way is an essential element of a supportive community.

"Their Give, Volunteer, Act slogan speaks to the United Way mission and allows the opportunity for everyone to support the campaign in their own way," says Ferguson.

He urges University staff and faculty to either give a small donation through a regular payroll deduction plan, volunteer their time to any one of the many programs and services provided by the United Way, or to act and become a catalyst for positive change in the community.

"I'm particularly impressed by our students' contributions. JDC West, a student group that competes annually in a business case competition, raises money every year through its Chillin' 4 Charity event. This year the group raised a record $20,000. That's a substantial injection of funds. In addition, they donate their time to a variety of local charities. We are definitely proud of their commitment."

Ferguson says the United Way in some manner has influenced us all.

"I think it's important to recognize the value the United Way provides to this community and to give back; even if it is in a small way, every donation adds up to powerful change."


· In the past year, the United Way handed out Baby Bundles filled with nutritional food and safety products to 1,468 new and expecting parents

· In the past year, a total of 519 women and children received shelter from a violent spouse

· In the past year, 88 youth in need of a role model were matched with a mentor

· In the past year, 5,135 pieces of medical equipment were loaned out to 3,145 individuals

This story first appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Legend. If you'd like to see the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.