Interview and photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – The United Way/Centraide of Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry (UWC SDG) was incorporated in 1964 and is well known for its fundraising endeavours that help other local charities. However, in recent years they have joined UWCs worldwide to take a lead on poverty reduction by being a catalyst, a coordinator, a collaborator, an educator, and of course, a fundraiser to ensure the role-out of essential programs that meet local communities’ needs.
Juliette Labossière is the Executive Director for the UWC SDG. She equates her work to that of building puzzles. She continuously searches for the right piece of the puzzle to solve a social issue and understands where and when to put that piece in motion to have the greatest impact. She manages the UWC SDG team, offers guidance for the strategic direction of the organization, and chairs multiple intersectoral working groups. She believes that collaborative work is what will propel our community to the most economic and impactful work.
Juliette received The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce President’s Award for 2021. Here are five questions she answered for The Seeker magazine.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – What do you like most about working at this non-profit organization?
“No two days are the same. Our organization, because of the type of work we do and to ensure sustainability and impact, is continuously evolving. We are always learning about trends, and needs, and exploring how and what is possible for our region and pushing limits. Every day we dream of creating better communities for our families, our friends, our neighbours, and every day we do something, sometimes albeit small, sometimes massive, that make our communities better places.”
2 – Tell us about your community partners.
“The UWC SDG collaborates with as many different stakeholders as possible, ranging from private donors to the business sector, to elected officials, to other non-profits and regional institutions. Our closest ally in the work we are doing is the Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area and their Vibrant Communities – Our Safety and Well-Being Plan. This comprehensive poverty reduction plan guides us in the type of work that needs to be accomplished and in what priority, so as to create inclusive, resilient, and caring communities.”
3 – What are the ways people in the community can support your organization?
“You have probably seen us in the media more over the last few years, particularly because of our collaborative work with all levels of government for the roll-out of various funds. However, it is easy to forget that we administer those funds, and for the most part, we do not benefit from them.
The UWC SDG receives no annual funding for our work from any level of government and to be able to continue to do the work we do, we need you. We need you to donate, whatever you can, whenever you can. We need you to ask your employer to allow for payroll deduction so that you can easily give 1 or 2 dollars a pay directly to your United Way. We need you to learn more about who we are and dispel any myths of who people assume we are. We need you to volunteer with us when we organize our events that help us fundraise. If you want to do any of these things, give us a call, we would be happy to help you, help us.”
4 – Tell us about an outcome or success story your organization has had.
“Through our leadership role on the Regional Emergency and Strategic Response Council, we were able to identify during the pandemic an important gap in services that would assist certain individuals that had lived through an unforeseen crisis and needed a one-time helping hand to ensure they could remain in, or access, stable and safe housing. The program we created, rightfully named the Last Resort, as it needed to be your last resort for assistance after you have attempted to find assistance from any government or organizational-led program first, has, over the last year and a half, helped hundreds of families from across SDGC&A. In the first month of this project, a Cornwall woman who had been without electricity for over 8 months was reconnected to hydro, and a man in the counties was able to obtain an apartment and regain visitation rights with his children for the first time in months by proving he had stable housing. The stakeholders implicated in the role out of this project brought hope and compassion back to our region.”
5 – What should the public know about your organization/services?
“The UWC SDG is not the organization you probably think it is. Take the time to come to our next AGM or peruse our annual reports.
Did you know that you can come into our office and receive assistance with your applications for LEAP and OESP? Soon we will even be in Morrisburg one day a month to assist with anyone in that area as well!
Did you know we run awareness campaigns to discuss various facets of poverty? Watch out for Tampon Tuesday in March!
Did you know we are working alongside so many amazing organizations locally to ensure that investments are being made not just to good things happening in our communities, but the right things that need to happen now? We do this to have the most influential and sustainable impact.
A dollar donated to your local UW stays right here in SDGC&A and goes a long way.”
For more information about The United Way/Centraide of Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry, visit their website. https://unitedwaysdg.com/