United Ways in the region are joining forces.
The groups in the Central, South Okanagan, and Similkameen will merge with the North Okanagan, Columbia, Shuswap United Way next April.
The agency says the change will ensure a strong and efficient regional United Way, and centralizing administration will avoid duplication and free up more energy for local impact and investment.
“United Way is all about local giving and local impact. That won’t change under this new regional model,” says Sinead Scanlon, Board Chair for United Way CSO. “Our Boards remain absolutely committed to the principle that funds raised locally, stay local. Local decision-making will continue to guide local community investments, focused on local priorities. What we gain is efficiency and the regional capacity to share what works.”
The merger will also create opportunities to respond to community issues that are common across the region such as homelessness, mental health and poverty.
“These issues do not stop or start at lines on a map and the merger creates new opportunities to share and expand programs across the wider region,” says UWNOCS Board President, Debbie Bagnall.
Long time Vernon-based executive director Linda Yule will be retiring in March, which was a catalyst for the change.
“Our community will of course miss Linda enormously, but we are excited about the future stewarded by Helen Jackman, Executive Director, United Way CSO,” says a news release.
In the next month, the recruitment process will begin for a new Community Engagement Manager for the North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap region.
“The new Manager will be based locally in Vernon but will be part of, and supported by, the wider regional team. We hope to learn from this approach to increase our presence and local impact in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. ”
The agency says this is the direction being taken by United Ways across Canada, with 32 United Ways combining their scale and capacity to create 12 integrated regional organizations in recent years.