September 7, 2017 (Kelowna) – United Way hosted the annual campaign kickoff breakfast Thursday, September 7th with over 270 in attendance for the rockstar themed event. VIP guests included community leaders, workplace campaign reps, corporate and media partners, volunteers, funded partners and staff. The United Way team, host Doris Bregolisse and many others donned rockstar personas for the fun-filled, energetic event.
Kelowna’s Mayor Colin Basran dressed as Gord Downie opened the speakers program and surprised the crowd with a Tragically Hip song, Boots and Hearts, accompanied by Kelowna’s Jim Leguilloux. Who knew!?! Jim also opened the event with a raucous version of O’Canada on electric guitar.
Another highlight of the morning was the VIP bake sale which raised a whopping $3100! Celebrity baked items such as Doris Bregolisse’s apple streudel went for $650!! Local community and corporate leaders donated the goodies for the live auction hosted by auctioneer Darryl Washylyshyn. The genesis of this fundraiser was a workplace campaign lunchtime event held by Summerland Research Centre which raised over $2000 in one hour showing the power of these fun workplace events.
The event also introduced the new Executive Director, Helen “Slash” Jackman to the crowd for her first address after 2 days on the job.
“This community has so much more potential,” says new Executive Director, Helen Jackman. “1 in 5 children live in poverty, 1 in 5 suffer from mental health issues and we have 360 homeless people in Kelowna and Penticton. We have to dig deep. We have an opportunity to grow the campaign and we’re challenging our donors to do that this year to meet the needs of the community.”
The program was rounded up by an impactful and heartfelt speech by Shelley Pacholok. Shelley relayed her tragic story from UBC Okanagan professor to a bike accident that changed her life leading her through a traumatic brain injury. Shelley recalled how Braintrust, a funded community partner of United Way, helped her through her recovery and she’s now doing research and giving back when she can to those in need of support with brain injuries.
The event is the kickoff to the annual workplace campaign season which provides over 60% of the fundraising total every year. United Way hopes to reach it goal of investing $1.4 million dollars in the community again in 2018. The campaign ends January 31, 2018.
To donate, visit:
unitedwaycso.com or call: 250-860-2356.
Thanks to Bell Media’s EZ Rock team for the promotions and live on location coverage!