By Brad Park
Monday, June 6, 2016 1:30 pm ·  0 Comments
United Ways of Burlington & Greater Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville, are close to ratifying a plan that will create a single United Way serving all of Halton Region and Hamilton.
“The amalgamation of these four United Ways will produce a single more effective, and more sustainable organization,” said United Way of Oakville Board Chair John Armstrong. “The new United Way will retain strong local connections, but a larger organization creates some really significant opportunities. Most importantly, the bigger United Way will be able address community issues that cross municipal lines.”
In looking at more extensive collaboration, the volunteer and staff leadership of the four
Halton and Hamilton United Ways recognized their strong alignment in mission, vision, work approach and programming. The process gathered further momentum after extensive consultation with United Way Centraide Canada and communication with stakeholders in each community. Anne Bermingham, Board Chair of United Way Burlington & Greater Hamilton, said, “In my conversations with our stakeholders, they have been eager and excited for more collaboration among our United Way organizations. It’s apparent that they have been looking to United Way to do something bold and strategic to enhance our community impact, so I’m confident amalgamation will resonate with our key partners.”
The amalgamation plan will allow the United Ways to access the benefits of a larger organization while also maintaining strong local leadership and neighbourhood-level connections including the establishment of local community advisory committees. “The first point of every discussion we’ve had about amalgamation has always been that money raised locally stays local,” said Bermingham. Chris Cooke, President of United Way of Halton Hills reinforced the importance of respecting the communities that will make up the new, larger United Way. “We will maintain a strong local presence in each of the original communities,” he said. “We understand how important local support is to our partners, donors and agencies.”
In May, each United Way’s board of directors voted in favour of the amalgamation plan. That plan will come to the four organizations’ annual general meetings in June for ratification.
“We are thrilled the boards decided to merge the organizations,” said James McAskill, United Way of Milton Board Chair. “The amalgamated United Way will be able to devote greater resources to providing evidence-based information to our supporters and will ultimately deliver a greater impact for the communities of the regions. “These United Ways have a strong history of working together,” said McAskill. “It just makes sense to take our partnership to the next level.”
The Halton and Hamilton United Ways are not alone in their pursuit of amalgamation. Across North America, United Ways have been joining forces to achieve greater impact on the communities they serve. The decision is consistent and aligned with United Way Centraide Movement’s 10-Year Strategic Directions and vision to strengthen the overall capacity and capabilities of United Ways across Canada. The aim is to grow and create impact in a rapidly changing community environment and philanthropic landscape.
Confirming that the amalgamation will be handled with sensitivity to all key United Way stakeholders, including staff, United Way of Oakville Board Chair John Armstrong said, “Everyone currently employed as permanent staff will be offered a position with the
Armstrong, summarized the vision for the amalgamation process by saying, “We’re building a bigger, stronger and more versatile team that will allow us to make a real difference in terms of community outcomes. Together, we will accomplish so much more than we ever could separately.”