Brian Ferguson team raises $2.25 million for UWay; wants more – a community is not truly great until it is great for EVERYONE!

By Pepper Parr

 March 3, 2014


 Burlington exceeds its United Way goal by 10% raising a record $2.25 million. There are still a few dollars left to be counted, however, the 2013 United Way campaign announced that the combined total for Hamilton and Burlington was $6.82 million for the  2013 campaign. This was short of the $7 million  goal.  Burlington however exceeded its goal by 10% raising a record setting $2.25 million.  All the money raised in Burlington stays in Burlington.

 The goal for 2014 has yet to be set – that will be done around the May/June timeframe, explains Brian Ferguson the chair of the 2014 campaign, who adds “ we are obviously pushing to do more”.

Newalta and Brian Ferguson, chair of the exceptionally successful 2013 campaign will lead the 2014 campaign.

 Ferguson pulled together a team of cabinet members two weeks ago for a planning session and fleshed out with four main focus areas for 2014

 1. New Business Development:  This division will focus on reaching out to workplaces and networking groups in Burlington who have not supported the United Way to run workplace campaigns or special events.

 2. Current Business Development:  The purpose of this focus area will be to work closely with our current workplace campaigns to encourage them to do more by increasing their payroll deduction participation and sharing their campaign best practices to be shared with other workplaces (new / current).

 3. Special Events:   The purpose of this focus area will be set focused on special events / programs. We already have a 1st ever United Way Burlington golf tournament planned for June 4th at Crosswinds, we will be the headline charity for the Beerfest. This group will also focus on providing presence at local events, partnering with sports / recreations leagues, and running programs like the Art Easel as Coinboxes.

 4. Branding / Awareness:  The purpose of this group is pretty self explanatory. We need to do a better job of creating awareness of the important of the United Way in Burlington and branding it accordingly through social media campaigns and media presence. We may have made history in 2013 but there are many more programs and services we can fund in Burlington  if we raise more money. A community is not truly great, explains Ferguson, until it is great for EVERYONE!

 “We also need to recruit more passionate volunteers to assist in all of these areas. So help spread the word we are looking for good people” asks Ferguson who is lead a fresh group with new ideas and a lot of new energy.  A lot of the old timers, people who have doing the UW campaign because it was one of the things you do, are prepared to see the younger set come in.  Jamie Edwards who has been part of the United Way as long as he can remember said “they are younger legs and they bring a drive I used to have; I’m happy to let them take over.”  Edwards will be around, prepared to make calls but 7:30 campaign meetings are something he might take a pass on.

Tara Brewer on the right is one of the two co-chairs for the 2014 campaign.

The campaign cabinet for 2014 is going to be structurally quite different from what was in place for 2013. “I want to run it like a business where people  have responsibilities and are accountable.  In the past the UW was quite like a networking club that some people used to pad a resume. 

Scott Robinson will serve as co-vice chair of the 2014 United Way campaign.

With the four focal points in place, members of the 2013 team can choose which sector they want to be in. People have been told that if they want to come back – and we hope they do – this is the structure – choose where you want to fit in.

 Rebecca and Jamie West will be running the Hamilton team for 2014.  Brian Ferguson will continue to lead the Burlington side.  He will be supported by Scott Robinson, owner of the Burlington Bandits and Tara Brewer, an MBA graduate who is part of the VMWare human resources team.

Weeks before the 2013 United Way campaign came to an end Brian Ferguson, standing, urges his team to make it happen this year – and they did – a record $2.25 million. Retiring United Way CEO chairman Len Lifchus, centre, looks on proudly.

Ferguson is delighted with the support he gets from Mayor Goldring and is looking forward to some serious involvement from the Economic Development Corporation once it has completed its restructuring.  If the BEDC can get some of the drive Ferguson has shown and come in with numbers as good as his – everyone is going to win.

 Ferguson had a phenomenal year because he created a team and gave them the leadership they wanted.  The personal passion he brought to the job was what rally made the difference.  Ferguson fully understands that a community is not truly great until it is great for EVERYONE!


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