Earlier this month, about two dozen business people found themselves sitting beside pairs of pyjamas. The child-sized clothes were brand new, tied with bows and destined for one of the many social agencies supported by United Way of Winnipeg.
Our Member MeetUps always provide valuable networking opportunities and learning moments. This December's event at United Way's downtown offices, however, was the first time guests knew their attendance would have a larger impact in the community. The entirety of the ticket price had gone to purchase the pyjamas sitting in front of them - gifts they were about to wrap and send on their way.
"Isn't it good to know today that community will be there for you tomorrow?" Connie Walker, CEO of United Way of Winnipeg asked attendees as they penned personal notes to accompany the jammies. With a quiet sincerity and conviction, Walker shared some of the most meaningful lessons she's learned during her tenure at United Way, including the deep social isolation that often accompanies poverty and the importance of empowering Indigenous organizations in a city where Indigenous residents disproportionately struggle.
She also emphasized the value of pooling donations - a strategy the United Way of Winnipeg has used to benefit tens of thousands of Winnipeggers over their 50 years of existence.
"If you're going to give, give collectively," Walker said, noting the United Way was 84 per cent finished its annual fundraising drive to support a network that helps thousands of Winnipeggers every day. Thanks to operating support from the Province of Manitoba, Walker shared that every penny from donations helps kids learn so they can reach for their dreams, lifts people out of poverty with education, and makes sure neighbours have help when they need it most.
The Winnipeg Chamber is a proud supporter of United Way of Winnipeg and urges our business community to help them cross the finish line. It's what Winnipeggers do best.