The Castlegar and District United Way has been a part of the community here, raising funds and hosting popular events to help those in need since 1967. But at a special AGM on Tuesday, April 2, the charity will officially dissolve due primarily to a lack of volunteers.
“For the last few years we have been challenged with a diminishing base of donations and volunteers,” said president Nicole Beetstra on March 15. “Despite our well-intentioned and efforts from previous and current people who volunteer we have not been able to change things.
“We can’t meet the United Way of Canada mission and therefore we can’t sustain the organization locally.”
In July of last year, the Castlegar News reported on the struggling charity. At the time, Beetstra made clear that the bylaws of the organization stated at least four board members were needed to continue as a functioning non-profit society.
The biggest thing that has happened, said Beetstra, is those volunteers have not come forward.
“When people give their time it’s so greatly appreciated,” she said. “But people are busy and in previous years we had boards of 10 to 12 people but the last few years it’s down to three to five.”
Beetstra wanted to emphasize any money remaining in charity accounts will be disbursed to the agencies they currently fund and the United Way is grateful for the support from those in the Castlegar area over the years.
“I want to assure anyone in Castlegar that has graciously donated in the past, that all of that money is going to stay in the community.”
Beetstra said when the board met with representatives from United Way Canada about the situation, they learned there were several other United Way’s struggling with similar issues.
“It’s very difficult to continue with this kind of thing, the way it is run now — based on volunteers and donations — when you have to have a paid administrator and an office and stuff,” she said. “You have to fall into Revenue Canada and United Way of Canada guidelines and we just don’t raise enough money to fulfill our obligations to that.”
“It’s kind of a sign of the times,” said Beetstra. “People are busy and unfortunately we were just not able to maintain things with how small of a board we are. I hope the generous people of Castlegar continue to donate to our needy causes.”