United Way KFL&A 2022 Campaign narrowly exceeds funding goal

United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington hosted the return of their Touchdown Breakfast at St. Lawrence College, bringing contributors together to announce the total raised through this year's 12 week funding push.

At another breakfast at SLC in September, United Way announced a funding goal of $3.8 million, and on Thursday morning unveiled a campaign success with $3.82 million raised.

United Way KFL&A President and CEO Bhavana Varma says workplace campaigns (like nearly $300k raised by Empire Life) were as usual huge contributors to this campaign, and the return of in person events being held once again helped to drive that.

Leadership giving consisting of donations over $1,200 also played a big part, particularly with support from Julie and Jim Parker, and Jessica Bayne Hogan who offered respective grants that matched the donations of new leadership donors and boosted existing leadership donors who increased donations by at least 10%.

Varma says the first round of funding will go out to roughly 30 partner agencies in the community as soon as Tuesday, with volunteers reviewing applications and giving recommendations to the board.

Another role, Varma says, which illustrates the importance of volunteers in this short but comprehensive campaign.

"We always say we're volunteer led," Varma said.

"It's the community coming together."

This year's campaign chair Jane Lapointe said the increased cost of living is felt by everyone, and coupled with markets being uncertain it has presented a challenge in what people can give, but the community need is continuously increasing.

"Rising costs, food, housing, it's affecting everybody," Lapointe said.

She said that seeing Kingston come through and meet an ambitious funding goal in spite of that shows how caring the community is.

Agencies dealing with food, mental health, addiction support and homelessness have been main focuses for distributing funds raised through the campaign.

In a release from United Way, Lapointe says those agencies are clearly showing the need is increasing

“We know from conversations with agencies that they are seeing a 25- to 30-per-cent increase in individuals needing their supports and services. They continue to work hard to meet these needs,” Lapointe said.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News