U of R’s United Way campaign supports community members financially impacted by pandemic

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: October 8, 2020 8:00 a.m.

The 2020 U of R United Way campaign, with Local Love in a Global Crisis as one of its themes, kicked-off on October 5 with the goal of fundraising $85,000 for community-based organizations.
The 2020 U of R United Way campaign, with Local Love in a Global Crisis as one of its themes, kicked-off on October 5 with the goal of fundraising $85,000 for community-based organizations. Image: United Way Regina Facebook

This year’s annual United Way campaign at the University of Regina may look a little different than it has in previous years, but the crucial support it provides to deserving community-based organizations remains the same.

In a normal year, the U of R’s United Way campaign would kick-off with faculty and staff receiving a form in their office mailbox, an invitation to an in-person event, and being greeted on campus by the iconic donation thermometer. Although most U of R faculty and staff are working from home, campaign organizers are devising creative ways to engage our community in a virtual environment.

One of the campaign co-chairs, Dr. Chris Oriet, Professor in the Department of Psychology, has been involved with the campaign for the past five years and believes that supporting the United Way is a great way to reinforce the University’s role within the greater community.

“The people of Regina and southern Saskatchewan support our University in so many ways,” says Oriet. “Giving to the United Way allows members of the U of R family to show support for deserving organizations within the community. Those of us who work on the main campus or at College Avenue Campus, live in or around Regina and are invested in our local community.”

During previous campaigns, units around campus have come up with creative initiatives to generate funds including a 50/50 draw, a book sale, a paint night, and a raffle. The successful 2019 edition of the campaign brought in more than $95,000 in support of local agencies including Canadian Mental Health Association, Family Service Regina, and the Regina Open Door Society.

The fundraising goal for the 2020 U of R United Way campaign is $85,000 and Oriet is excited to see how our community will come together for the worthy cause.

“Keep your eye out for virtual fundraisers and other pop-up events in support of the United Way,” says Oriet. “Make a donation, speak about the campaign with a colleague, or organize a fundraising event with your unit – it all makes a difference.”

Much of the success of previous campaigns has come from the hard work of the team of more than 50 canvassers who have helped to engage their colleagues in support of the cause. Previous canvassers and other supporters are being asked to share their stories to spread the message of giving to the U of R community.

“If you have supported the campaign in the past, we welcome you to film a short video explaining why you support the United Way. These videos will go a long way to spreading the message of why it is so important to donate during such an unpredictable time,” says Oriet.

Oriet is hoping to build on the U of R community’s caring culture which has already been well established with other fundraising work done by the University earlier this year.

In February, the incredibly successful Big Hearts Family Giving campaign was launched. The campaign was a big step in creating a culture of philanthropy on campus, with more than 400 members of the U of R’s family of faculty, staff, and retirees contributing $630,000 towards the causes closest to them. One of the largest beneficiaries of this generosity was the Student Emergency Fund.

Many students were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and found themselves suddenly out of work and unable to support themselves. Through the Student Emergency Fund, 345 students received more than $350,000 to help pay for necessities like housing and groceries. Many other members of the community have not been as fortunate, and rely on the United Way’s programming to have their basic needs met.

“Underprivileged kids in our community are supported through United Way programs. Their programs ensure kids have access to food security and give the best chances to succeed in school, among other things,” says Oriet. “In many ways, donating through the United Way campaign is helping to support future U of R students.”

Highlighted in the University of Regina’s strategic plan and Area of Focus 5, Impact and Identity, our University is working to strengthen connections in the community. Through support of initiatives like the U of R’s United Way campaign, our faculty and staff are creating positive social impact for the benefit of the community.

­“This is a tough time for everyone, but the generosity of the University of Regina family is second to none,” says Oriet.

The 2020 edition of the University of Regina’s United Way Campaign will run from October 5 – December 18. Any donations made through the Campaign can be directed to the University of Regina. If you would like to contribute, please visit the University of Regina's United Way Regina landing page.