United Way Honours Thanks A Million Club at Annual Spirit Awards

VICTORIA, BC – Eleven companies in the Capital Regional District (CRD) have hit a new milestone when it comes to philanthropy. Reaching over a million dollars in cumulative giving since first starting their workplace campaigns, United Way recognized the Department of National Defence, Island Health, University of Victoria, Coast Capital Savings, RBC Royal Bank, City of Victoria, Camosun College, CIBC, TD Canada Trust, ESIT Advanced Solutions Inc. and Canada Revenue Agency as the first inductees into their new Thanks a Million Club at their annual Spirit Awards on April 24, 2017 at the Fairmont Empress.

Special honours were given to the Department of National Defence (DND) for surpassing the million dollar mark ten-fold. Since 1994, the dedicated employees at DND have raised over $10 Million for the community. Overall, the Spirit Awards included 15 award categories, and highlighted 58 nominees and 30 finalists from over 250 workplaces.

Click here for the full list of 2016 Spirit Award nominees and finalists

Click here for the 2016 Spirit Award Recipients.

Another prestigious award of the afternoon was presented to longstanding donor to UWGV, Dave Wheaton, owner of Wheaton Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC, who received the Chair’s Award of Distinction, which showcases an individual for their extraordinary commitment to United Way’s community campaign through the workplace and individual giving.

Dave is a strong supporter of United Way through his personal philanthropy and corporate fundraising efforts as well as his volunteer role with the United Way Campaign Cabinet from 2012 to 2015. Year after year, Dave ensures that a successful workplace campaign is run at his dealership, and dating back to 1994, Wheaton Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC has donated over $400,000 dollars in both employee giving and corporate sponsorship. A true leader in the community, Dave provides a 100% corporate match donation for every dollar raised by his employees.

United, all these businesses and employees welcomed United Way into their offices – they volunteered, took part in special events, spoke about the impact the organization is making, led by example in their philanthropy and ultimately, helped raise $5 Million in 2016 to benefit kids, youth, families and seniors from Victoria to Sooke to Sidney and the Southern Gulf Islands.

“As we celebrate 80 years of serving the community, we have seen a lot of change in our community, but one thing that remains constant is people still face struggles and it takes all of us working together to help create possibilities. While many of us have a support system to help overcome life’s challenges – others need a hand up. Thanks to the generosity of our donors – united, we are able to fund a local network of social services for when people need it the most,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO, United Way. “That’s why United Way was established and why it’s still relevant today.”

Bruce Williams, community engagement professional and Mike Eso, President of Victoria Labour Council, co-led the 2016 campaign and they will continue the role in 2017. “It’s been an honour to lead the fundraising efforts of United Way with my co-chair Mike Eso. What inspires me the most is to see how many people are truly committed to making our community stronger, people like Dave Wheaton,” says Bruce Williams. “I’m sending a big thank you to all who invested their dollars, time and ideas in our campaign. Our volunteers and United Way staff have worked hard to ensure we assist as many people as possible.”

United Way would like to thank Chemistry Consulting and in particular, principles Frank Bourree and Christine Willow for ongoing support of the Spirit Awards Luncheon. Chemistry Consulting is a proud supporter of United Way, not only as a corporate partner but also contributing $66,400 towards the community through their workplace campaign since 2006. United Way would also like to recognize its 80th anniversary sponsors: Derma Spa, Wheaton Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC and Graphic FX.



Heather Skydt
Director, Marketing and Communications
United Way
Work: (250) 984-2269
Email: heather@uwgv.ca 

Patricia Jelinski
United Way
Work: (250) 220-7364
Cell: (250) 217-8698
Email: patricia.jelinski@uwgv.ca

BACKGROUND: United Way ‘unites’ the generosity of people – business, labour, government and individual donors – with the skills, knowledge and expertise in the community to help those in need. This collaborative approach is building a stronger, more resilient community to serve current and future generations.

As the region’s largest annual funder of local social service programs, we assist charitable organizations by identifying and funding programs to address immediate needs and underlying causes of our community’s most pressing social challenges.

We are active in the community all year round through fundraising and community building, and provide multi-year funding to create a strong and stable network of local services. For 80 years we have served the community and raised over $160 Million. Our work, as a community leader, is as relevant today as it ever was. And with the ongoing support of our donors, we will continue to changes lives.

Follow United Way on Twitter: @uwgv