The United Way North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap’s highly popular Drive-Thru Breakfast will still be held after United Ways in the Okanagan merged. (Morning Star - file photo)

Okanagan United Ways merge

New organization is United Way Southern Interior BC

A merger has taken place between two organizations serving many Interior communities.

United Way North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap (NOCS) and United Way Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen (CSO) announced they have joined forces under the new name United Way Southern Interior BC.

The merger creates a strong, efficient regional United Way, focused on local impact and investment.

By combining and centralizing administrative functions and processes – including HR, IT, Finance, website, for example – the new organization will avoid duplication and be freed up to focus more energy on local partnerships supporting the communities’ most vulnerable.

READ ALSO: Okanagan United Ways to join forces in 2019

It also creates opportunities to respond to local community issues that are common across the region such as homelessness, mental health and poverty – issues that do not stop or start at lines on a map. Most importantly however, funds raised locally will continue to be invested back into those local communities.

The merger was unanimously supported by the boards and voting members of both United Ways and comes at the end of a year of careful and diligent joint planning.

This is the direction being taken by United Ways across Canada. In recent years, 32 United Ways have combined their scale and capacity to create 12 integrated regional organizations while maintaining strong local presence.

”United Way is all about local giving and local impact. Every dollar raised locally will go back to the local community – whether that’s the North, Central, or South Okanagan,” said Sinead Scanlon, board chair for United Way Southern Interior BC. “The Board of United Way SIBC remains 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 regional capacity. I am excited for the future of the new regional United Way.”

The merger was, in part, triggered by the planned retirement of Linda Yule, executive director United Way NOCS. Paying tribute to Yule, Debbie Bagnall, president of United Way NOCS said, “Linda has been an exemplary leader in our community. For 25 years, she has built powerful relationships with local employers, donors and community partners and stewarded investments supporting the most vulnerable in our community. On behalf of the entire community, we thank Linda for her years of service.”

RELATED: United Way executive director from Vernon heads into retirement

United Way SIBC will continue to have a strong local presence in the North Okanagan, Columbia and Shuswap.

Tracy Williamson has been appointed as community engagement manager, based in Vernon, and will work closely with the United Way SIBC Team in Kelowna, led by Helen Jackman, executive director.

Williamson will work from an office generously donated by Interior Savings Credit Union at #200 – 4301, 32nd Street, Vernon. A local committee will be appointed to support fundraising and local impact investments, reporting to the Board of United Way SIBC. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Helen Jackman or Tracy Williamson for further information.



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