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The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton reported its 2020 audited financial statements at the 64th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday. The report also included the annual investment of donors’ dollars and the approval of two new critical service grants.

The AGM was chaired by outgoing Vice-President Al McChesney. Jason Killingsworth will remain at the helm of the Board of Directors as volunteer President for 2021. The board welcomed new directors Lynn Findlay, Kathy Sitter, Bharat Thakkar and Cathy Thompson to the Slate of Officers and thanked exiting board members Christopher Hawksworth, Mary Ellen Edlington, as well as Rima Rizkallah and Al McChesney who filled their maximum ten-year term. Pierre Soulard was also congratulated by the board at its meeting after receiving the Ontario Volunteer Service Award. Soulard was recognized for his more than 30 years of volunteerism with United Way.

“It will come as no surprise when I say COVID-19 forced us to change how we tackle the challenges facing Lambton County’s most vulnerable,” said McChesney. “In total, over $550,000 in addition to the $1,750,000 that was raised during the fall campaign, was available to flow through United Way to agencies in need. More than 40% of those funding decisions were to Lambton County non-profits that were not previously funded by United Way of Sarnia-Lambton.”

Moving forward in 2021, the board has approved a refocus of its funding strategies. All funded programs must fall within guidelines set out by the board which include From Poverty to Possibility, helping people move out of or avoid the cycle of poverty; All That Kids Can Be, which will invest in youth so they can succeed in school while developing supportive relationships; and Healthy People, Strong Communities, creating a strong, inclusive community connecting people to supports for their well-being, from addiction and mental health supports to helping seniors live independently.

Two critical service funding requests were approved by the newly elected Board of Directors. River City Vineyard will receive $12,000 for its snack program. Many community meals and outreach services for food have been postponed or cancelled due to the safety concerns from the pandemic. The snack program provides food that does not need to be cooked or reheated to the homeless population. The funding will ensure the program can continue.

Habitat for Humanity’s Handyman Program will receive $30,000. The program offers quality, low-cost home repair services to homeowners in Sarnia-Lambton. The pricing of help is based on a means test which includes CRA tax assessment and Housing Income Limits tables. The funding will be used to supplement the gap between those who can afford standard pricing and those who cannot.

A complete copy of our financial statements as well as community investments can be found on our website

For more information, please contact:
Dave Brown, Executive Director 519-384-9270