Base new member of Thanks a Million Club

United Way Board Member Captain (Navy) Steve Waddell, Base Commander CFB Esquimalt, was on hand at the recent Spirit Awards where local campaign contributors at the Department of National Defence were recognized with induction into the United Way Greater Victoria’s “Thanks a Million” Club.

United Way Board Member Captain (Navy) Steve Waddell, Base Commander CFB Esquimalt, was on hand at the recent Spirit Awards where local campaign contributors at the Department of National Defence were recognized with induction into the United Way Greater Victoria’s “Thanks a Million” Club.

James Vassallo, Base PAO ~

Helping those less fortunate, providing hot meals for the hungry, giving kids in need new opportunities, and caring for sick animals are just a few of the reasons why the local Defence Team deserves recognition for charitable giving.

But at the recent annual Spirit Awards, the United Way Greater Victoria (UWGV) found 10 million more reasons when they made the Department of National Defence (DND) one of the first inductees of the “Thanks a Million” Club.

“To become a member of this club you have to raise more than a million dollars, which is pretty amazing,” says Hazel Braithwaite, community campaign director, UWGV. “DND has surpassed that milestone ten-fold. As the only member of this exclusive $10-million club, the department’s dedicated employees have something to be very proud of.”

The award recognizes the fundraising efforts of the local Defence Team, comprised of Canadian Armed Forces members and civilian employees working at more than 100 DND units within the Greater Victoria Area. The United Way of Greater Victoria and Healthpartners then distributes these donations to registered Canadian charities based on the choices made by individual donors when they contribute.

Since 1994 – when United Way began keeping electronic records – the Defence Team has raised $10,062,690.35 to support charitable causes.

Eleven organizations in the Capital Regional District (CRD) have met the $1 million philanthropic milestone in their workplace campaigns: Island Health, University of Victoria, Coast Capital Savings, RBC Royal Bank, City of Victoria, Camosun College, CIBC, TD Canada Trust, ESIT Advanced Solutions Inc., and the Canada Revenue Agency; however, only DND has reached the lofty $10-million club.

“As we celebrate 80 years of serving the community, we have seen a lot of change.One thing that remains constant is people still face struggles, and it takes all of us working together to help create possibilities,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO, UWGV. “While many of us have a support system to help overcome life’s challenges, others need a hand up. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, united, we are able to fund a local network of social services for when people need it the most.”

While the big fundraising numbers are impressive, it’s the quieter truths that underpin the millions in support that moves Vicki Kellsey, campaign manager for the National Defence Workplace Charitable Campaign (NDWCC) for the last nine years.

“It’s every single loonie or toonie dropped in a bucket, every $5 donation made by someone who slips quietly away from their desk to contribute, that’s what made this happen,” she says. “I’ve had this amazing opportunity to work with so many wonderful people, with such great ideas, who are out canvassing and helping out in every way possible. The caring factor and enthusiasm is very humbling.”

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