Another year hit the books for the United Way Estevan as their annual general meeting(AGM) took place on Wednesday night in the Taylorton Room, in what was a celebration of an extremely successful year in 2017.
The non-profit organization that supports 15 member agencies in Estevan and south east Saskatchewan surpassed their fundraising goal by over $30,000 during their 41st year of hosting the 33-hour telethon in October of 2017. Over $358,000 was raised during the telethon, smashing their original goal of $325,000. The 42nd annual telethon will take place on October 12th and 13th.
As always, this years AGM was a night to celebrate the outstanding support from the community and look ahead at what's to come in 2018.
In a year that seemed to go by in a flash, past President Patrick Fisher passed the gavel over to Travis Frank, who has assumed the role as President for 2018.
"It's a great honor, it's a board I've served for going on 14 years," said incoming United Way Estevan President, Travis Frank. "This year we want to see growth again, we're seeing a lot of growth in economy in the city so it would be nice to see the numbers get even higher. Tonight was a real inspiring night to hear about what these groups do with our money."
"Patrick(Fisher) came into a tough year with the economy not doing well, so to take that on is always scary as United Way President, we all want to make our goals. Patrick went into it and did a really inspiring job and was able to surpass his goal at telethon which is always great, I thank him for the hard work he did as President and I hope I can live up to that."
President Frank will be a busy man in 2018. Along with his role of President of United Way Estevan, he is a City Councilor and was recently named Interim Executive Director of the St. Josephs Hospital Foundation.
"I figured out I have a major fundraiser every six weeks this year, it's going to be a very busy year but it's great. I ran for council on the idea that I love giving back and so I guess this year I'm really going to show that because I should be doing quite a bit of it."
Among some of the other topics on the agenda, was the success of the United Way Day of Caring and the growth that it has seen over the past three years. In 2015, 109 volunteers took on 24 projects in the community. 2016 also saw an increase in both projects with 36 and volunteers with 149. Last year's 9th annual Day of Caring was the most successful one yet, where 180 volunteers took on 45 projects in the community.
"I look to the work our board did throughout the year, it was another record year for Day of Caring, the commitment our community impact team has put in to create an actual application and do that," explained past President, Patrick Fisher. "As well as our commitment to update our website to get future generations to realize the work that the United Way and it's member agencies do. We've got a really good path moving forward."
"It goes by really fast, it feels like only a couple weeks ago I was doing the same thing setting up my speech for the year and now I'm recapping it. In the end I have to give a lot of credit to the board, it's over 20 members worth of people, the passion and drive they have to make Estevan a better place is what keeps us going. Without them, nothing would get done."
Heading into a new year, Fisher said he expects Travis Frank to excel at the position with the experience he brings in his charity work and his role as a volunteer.
"It's a bit of a younger trend which is good, it brings new ideas. Travis Frank will do a fantastic job, he's got a lot of experience and he will definitely bring a fresh take to the board and carry along the path we've been going the past couple years."
For those who don't know, the Day of Caring is an annual event to celebrate volunteering and to help contribute to the community and complete jobs that they wouldn't be able to do on their own. This years day of caring will take place on May 30th.
Another exciting development came out of the meeting as a new application form has been created by board members with the United Way for their 'Community Impact' committee. Any organization or individuals that would like to apply for funding to help host events that will positively impact the community at large, and are in line with the United Way Estevan's guidelines, are encouraged to fill out an application. More information and forms can be found at the United Way Estevan website.
Each of the 15 United Way member agencies also spoke about the impact the non-profit organization has on their agency, where the money goes towards and what it has done for them over the years. Over $260,000 was divided between the 15 member agencies while over $23,000 went towards community impact projects.