United Way Centraide Canada CEO Jacline Nyman now has a first-hand understanding of the effects “The Beast” has had on Fort McMurray and its non-profit organizations.
Nyman visited the region between Wednesday and Thursday, viewing the damage wrought by the wildfire and hosting a roundtable discussion with the local chapter of the United Way to gain an understanding of how the national leadership can help.
“This is human spirit at its best,” she said Thursday morning. “You survived. You know what so many people never know, and that is what it’s like to be faced with that level of fear for your mortality.”
She noted that support for Fort McMurray has come from across the United Way network, with $3 million raised to go towards the recovery. Nyman heard from local staff how that money can be best put to use, and ensured that 100% of the funds would go towards helping them achieve their community goals.
“We’ve seen a lot of additional donations,” she said. “United Way donors would give to their community and say “and I want to give you this extra… for the people of Fort McMurray.”
Executive Director of the Fort McMurray United Way Diane Shannon said at the roundtable that many generous individual donations had come through recently for the organization, including one for $7,000 which was processed this week.
The organization provides supports to non-profits like the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, Stepping Stones, and the Centre of Hope to help support community needs. Since the wildfire, they’ve expanded their programming to support small businesses and have formed partnerships with the RMWB and Canadian Red Cross to ensure they aren’t duplicating services.