ChangeMakers for the win!

ChangeMakers, United Way Awards Week

United Way celebrates 2021-22
award winners with in-person event

Celebrating volunteers

After two years of pandemic events, United Way’s annual ChangeMakers Awards celebration happened live and in person last night. Over 100 people gathered safely at LiUNA Local 1059 to celebrate the success of the United Way 2021-22 fundraising campaign, and the incredible volunteers who made it happen.

“It’s so exciting to gather together and celebrate the people at the heart of our fundraising campaign,” said Penny Wise, President, 3M Canada and United Way 2021 Campaign Chair. “Throughout the challenges of the last year, our volunteers continued to step up to help their neighbours with United Way. I am proud to recognize those who went above and beyond to be real ChangeMakers for our community!”

Even though in-person gatherings and fundraising events took a back seat during the pandemic, United Way Champions—volunteers who coordinate fundraising campaigns in workplaces—never went away.

Thousands worked tirelessly at local businesses, schools, manufacturing plants, non-profits and other workplaces to rally co-workers and raise millions of dollars to fund programs and services that help meet urgent needs in our community.

Heather Dobbin, Middlesex Hospital Alliance, is just one of them. Dobbin rallied her colleagues to participate in an array of activities, raising an additional 89% over last year’s campaign and increasing total dollars raised from special events. Dobbin won the Outstanding Champion – Large Workplace Award for many years of hard work raising dollars and awareness for United Way funded programs and services in Strathroy and Middlesex County.

Tonight’s ChangeMakers Awards also recognized award recipients from the United Way 2019-20 and 2020-21 Campaigns who celebrated virtually due to pandemic restrictions.

“In life there are some moments that leave you speechless,” said Joan Fernandez from Ernst & Young, who experienced a tearful moment of gratitude when she found out she’d won the Outstanding Workplace Champion – Medium Workplace Award.

Me and my family came with very little to this country,” Fernandez continued. “But two decades later, we are grateful to Canada, to the City of London and to organizations such as United Way for its programs that make a huge difference in the community, one person at a time.”  

Passing the torch

United Way’s annual ChangeMakers Awards also signals the passing of the torch from one top Campaign volunteer to the next.

Alyson Paisley, VP, Direct Distribution, Intact Financial Corporation is stepping up as the United Way 2022 Campaign Chair. Paisley and her Campaign Cabinet team of 12 volunteers from across the region had their first meeting last week. Each year, a new group of volunteers partners with United Way staff and sponsored employees to help make the annual region-wide fundraising campaign a success.

Work behind the scenes has started for this year’s 3M Harvest Lunch & United Way Campaign Launch, happening in person on September 19 in London’s Victoria Park and September 22 at the Horton Street Market in St. Thomas.

“I’m honored, excited and a little daunted to take on this huge role,” Paisley said. “But I have every confidence in my Campaign team, our workplace Champions and the thousands of generous people across our region who I know will step up with me to help United Way meet the most urgent needs in our community. There’s a changemaker in each of us.”

The United Way 2021 Campaign wrapped up March 31, 2022. In total, $6.65 million in Community Fund grants and other investments is at work in our community to reduce and prevent poverty, including $4.65 million in program grants at 43 local social service agencies, and an additional $100,000 in short-term project grants.

Learn more about United Way’s investments here

Meet the United Way 2021 ChangeMakers

These community champions stepped up in difficult times to support those in need. Using their energy, passion and commitment to improve lives locally, each one of our winners helped bring opportunity and hope to local people this year.

Top Campaign Team
Small Workplace
Gorman-Rupp Canada

These DoGooders pulled together and worked hard on an incredible United Way campaign with over 50% staff participation and $10,000 dollars raised to help local people and families across our region. The staff at Gorman-Rupp are committed individuals with a passion for helping others. Employees were given payroll giving incentives and guest speakers were hosted at both kick-off and wrap celebrations.

Top Campaign Team
Medium Workplace
Enbridge Gas Inc.

This outstanding group of individuals made an incredible contribution to their community for the 2021 Fundraising Campaign. Working together, they also collected and distributed masks for support workers in need during the pandemic.  The team took full advantage of United Way’s fundraising and awareness initiatives including the virtual tour, having an impact speaker, 50/50 draw, in addition to their own internal fundraising events.

Top Campaign Team
Large Workplace
Western University Campaign Committee

This group of community advocators went above-and-beyond throughout this campaign to help their neighbours. They brainstormed new and creative ways to keep their campaign at full energy despite the ever-changing environment and regulations on campus. Hosting as many events as possible in-person, while being nimble and moving to virtual when necessary, this team was quick to adapt to any situation to raise dollars and awareness for local programs and services in our community.

Innovation Award
LiUNA 1059 Virtual Golf Tournament

This group of innovators landed a hole in one in spite of the pandemic. When lockdowns stopped the annual LiUNA 1059 Golf Tournament from taking place in-person on the green, the team at LiUNA 1059 switched to a pay-it-forward event format, raising a whopping $199,000 to help reduce and end poverty in our community, without ever swinging a club! Together this group raised more than any other single fundraising event hosted for United Way this year! Over the years, the LiUNA Golf Tournament has raised over $1 million for local programs and services helping people in our community.

Lifetime Achievement Award
GKN Sinter Metals Inc. Team

This incredible group is committed to a community that includes everyone. For over 25 years these individuals have hosted an outstanding workplace campaign in support of United Way. They have a long-standing tradition of holding a staff and retiree lunch and extraordinary bake sale, the employees maintain above a 50% participation rate in each campaign and raise considerable funds each year for local programs and services helping people in St Thomas and Elgin County.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jim Yeomans

Jim has dedicated himself as an advocate, investor and collaborator for our community for decades. He was a workplace champion for many years and a Campaign Cabinet member from 2014 – 2016, bringing his incredible passion and commitment to his colleagues and his networks to help raise more funds for local people. Jim has prioritized the work of United Way throughout his career and advocated consistently within his workplaces to keep the needs of our community front and centre at Scotiabank, and now BMO Private Wealth. He is a true champion and DoGooder for United Way and our community.

Rookie of the Year
Mary Lasseter & Laura Reid, Enterprise Holdings

Being new didn’t stop this power-duo from running full tilt for their community. Both came to the 2021 United Way campaign as new champions for their workplace, but they hit the ground running for their teammates with lots of great ideas and energy.  Together they worked to inspire teams across Southwestern Ontario, leading many regions to have increases in their fundraising results over previous years!  Even when faced with a mid-campaign shutdown due to the pandemic, they were not phased. Mary and Laura kick-started their campaign when operations opened back up for a successful and exciting close to their fundraising year.

Outstanding Champion
Small Workplace
Silvia Langer, Unity Project

This workplace Champion gave it their all in a difficult year. Part of the small but mighty staff at Unity Project for the Prevention of Homelessness, Silvia brought her passion and energy to rally her colleagues behind her for TD Bank StairClimb, and really go for it – resulting in this dedicated and hardworking team of frontline workers to being the 10th team overall on the leaderboards and 9th position for total points earned!

Outstanding Champion
Medium Workplace
Vicki Ng & Katie DenBok, KPMG LLP

These two individuals work hard behind the scenes to inspire and engage their colleagues for United Way. Vicki and Katie are committed advocates for their community who pull out all the stops to make their workplace campaign fun and meaningful. Whether bringing in impact speakers, organizing virtual tours, or collecting pledges and teammates for StairClimb, they are passionate individuals working to help those in need.

Outstanding Champion
Large Workplace
Heather Dobbin, Middlesex Hospital Alliance

This Champion has worked hard for many years, nurturing and growing her workplace campaign, creating energy and excitement while raising dollars and awareness for United Way funded programs and services in Strathroy and Middlesex County. Heather rallied her hospital colleagues to participate in an array of activities, raising an additional 89% over last year’s campaign and increasing the total dollars raised from special events.  She has also dedicated herself to educating her colleagues on the value of giving, the local services available, and the impact they can have on the lives of local people.

GenNext Award
Keri-Anne Mizzi, RCMP

Keri-Anne has led her workplace campaign as Champion for many years. She is dedicated to helping those around her and serving her community and a key part of that is through raising both dollars and awareness for local United Way funded programs. She has also taken an avid part in Best First Day, organizing the collection of backpacks and other school supplies for young people in need.

Congratulations to the 2019-20 and 2020-21 United Way ChangeMakers

See the images from the event!

Thank you to our generous sponsors

ChangeMakers 2021 sponsors

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