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Fleming Students Showcase Creative Ideas To Raise Awareness about Homelessness

Jim Russell CEO of the United Way of Peterborough and District joined students and faculty from Fleming College to showcase the work of students in the Graphic Design and Visual Communications Program.

This was the second year that a class from the program has worked with the United Way to develop marketing and communications concepts, applying the skills and knowledge they have learned to a “real world experience.”

Matt Stimpson, one of two course instructors, said of the experience, “it was important to push the students this year and we were excited to have them focus on the issue of homelessness in our community.”

Students Meagan Pollard and Kim Russell led the presentations with a concept that focused on myth busting stereotypes about people experiencing homelessness, including the notion that “I chose to be homeless.”

Coming a close second was the student team of Emma Clark, Alex Macneill, Max Dickomeit with a campaign that focused on “Stop Ignoring It” which presented the idea of physical installations, cars, bus shelters, and asked people to see these as makeshift homes.

“Off the hook fantastic!” an impressed Russell proclaimed. “what impressed me the most beyond the creativity, is the sensitivity with which all the students approached the task.”

Joining students as well was Fleming College President Maureen Adamson, who highlighted the role that Fleming plays in preparing students for the workforce and adding “we are proud of all our faculty and the students we graduate.”

Read article in Peterborough This week.

Board Membership Opportunity

We are currently looking to fill two positions on our Board of Directors team, each for a 3-year term with potential to renew for a 2nd term.

While we encourage anyone to apply, we are particularly looking for individuals with diverse backgrounds and life experiences.

As a board member you will have the opportunity to:

  • attend monthly meetings of roughly two-hours to review the business of the organization
  • volunteer for committees or projects to further the goals of the organization. (While we operate as a governance board, members are encouraged to participate actively.)
    • projects include, but are not limited to: Finance Committee, Community Impact Committee and engagement in Special Events

Those interested in this position, should send their CV along with a brief letter of interest to Jim Russell: jrussell@uwpeterborough.ca by 4:30pm May 21, 2019.

Carol’s Place Volunteers Announced As Recipients For 2019 Scholfield Award For Community Distinction

United Way of Peterborough & District today announced the 2019 recipient of the Scholfield Award of Community Distinction. The annual award was established to recognize an individual or organization for their outstanding contribution and ability to mobilize change within the community.

The 2019 recipient is Carol’s Place, in particular, their volunteers. Carol’s Place is a gathering place for people that was open in the morning and early evening, in the hours when local hot-meal programs and overnight shelters were closed. It was named in honour of Carol Winter, who devoted her life to helping the homeless, the poor and the marginalized in Peterborough. It was her dream to create a place where people in need could go, at any time of day.

Carol’s Place was a safe and inclusive place for anyone to gather. They provided a listening ear and information about services available. They also have a supply of donated clothing and items (camping supplies, first aid kits, insect repellent etc.) for those who need them. At Christmas time, they donated backpacks filled with supplies to those in need.

It was operational until December 31st, 2018 when they were evicted from their location at Peterborough Square. Dan and other volunteers are currently advocating and fundraising to find a new location.

The volunteers who have made Carol’s Place possible include: Dan Hennessey, Judy Jordan, Glenn Goodberry, Susan Gontier, Darlene Boyle and Janet Wilkins.

Michael Andrews, United Way Board member and selection committee member said, “volunteers are the life blood of many organizations, and United Way is proud to recognize these often unsung heroes in our community.”

Past award recipients have been Bill Strode, John Martyn, People First, Survivors Abreast, Marie Bongard, and Roy Brady, Stephen Kylie, Faith Dickinson and most recently Marion Burton.

Passing the Torch to 2019 United Way Campaign Chair David Goyette

This morning at the United Way office, Lakefield resident David Goyette was introduced as the 2019 United Way Campaign Chair. 2018 Campaign Chair Megan Murphy was on hand to “pass the torch” to Mr. Goyette. Joining David was his partner Victoria Pearce.

United Way CEO Jim Russell said that “David is a true renaissance man,” citing Goyette’s accomplishments as an academic and published author; a writer, journalist and playwright; a songwriter, guitarist and recorded musician; a painter; and a successful consultant, entrepreneur and business person.

With degrees from the University of Toronto and Queens’ University, David’s professional career has focused on public affairs and communications consulting to more than 100 Canadian and American politicians; 33 offices at Queen’s Park including 17 Deputy Ministers; and the leaders of Canada’s business community, including the senior management at most of the country’s major banks.

Citing Goyette’s philanthropy such as the funding of the David Goyette Stage and Green Room at Showplace Performance Centre, as well as concert sponsorship of the Peterborough Singers, Russell said, “David has demonstrated a commitment to building community; he leads by example in encouraging both the arts and civic engagement.”

Goyette’s volunteer activities in the Peterborough community include service to 20 organizations, including 5 as a Board Director. Peterborough has proven to be fertile ground for David, who has published three books, mounted 15 shows of his paintings, and recorded a blues album since 2011. Full proceeds from the sale of his books were donated to local charitable organizations.  

 “I am honoured to be able to give back to a community that has given so much to me,” Goyette said. “I am also looking forward to putting the cabinet together and working with the team on some innovative approaches to the marketing of the campaign.”

The campaign will launch on September 18, 2019.


For more information, please contact;
Jim Russell, CEO
United Way Peterborough & District
T: 705-742-8839
E: jrussell@uwpeterborough.ca

United Way Rolls Out The Red Carpet Showing Its #LocalLove

PETERBOROUGH, ON – The Red Carpet was rolled out and the stars of Peterborough packed the sold-out United Way annual Campaign celebration today in the Nexicom studio at Showplace Performance Centre.

Striking an Oscar theme, the room was awash in candlelight, balloons, and golden chocolate bunnies taking the place of actual Oscar awards. An ebullient Megan Murphy, the 2018 Campaign Chair, noted her gratitude stating, “my heart has been full with the stories I have heard, and the outpouring of this community.”

Highlights of the celebration included a walk down a red carpet, and a paparazzi photo booth, where red boas, red sunglasses, and red fedoras were donned for pictures. In addition, seven short films all produced and directed by Murphy entitled 50 People One Peterborough, played during the lunch which was provided by, By the Bridge Catering.

Murphy, born and raised in Peterborough, is a renowned actor and documentary film maker who brought her directorial eye to this year’s campaign, emphasizing the “power of story”. Each film started with a single question, such as “what does home mean to you.” Reactions were thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking, life affirming, and always a reminder of the deep humanity in us all.

A guerilla campaign called “Chalk Talk” was marked by four large chalk boards placed in various locations throughout the city. Each board had a conversation starter, such as “I’m Inspired By…” and people were invited to chalk up their ideas and reactions.

 This year was a show of 100% Local Love. An effusive Jim Russell, CEO of the United Way of Peterborough and District announced that this year’s campaign achieved, $1,735,000.

“This year’s success allows us to continue our current commitment to our 46 funded partners and projects and we are thrilled to be able to continue our current level of investment in the community.  Thank you Peterborough for showing 100% Local Love.”

A sea of red signs with the name of every partner and project was held up to demonstrate the breadth of investment across the sector and community.

The 2019 Campaign Chair will be announced on April 4th.


For more information, please contact;
Jim Russell, CEO
United Way Peterborough & District
T: 705-742-8839
E: jrussell@uwpeterborough.ca

Stay tuned for more event photos!

Scholfield Award 2019 Nominations Now Open!

Scholfield Award of Community Distinction

Recognizing and celebrating outstanding volunteer contributions to the City and County of Peterborough.

United Way of Peterborough & District’s Scholfield Award of Community Distinction was established to recognize an individual or organization for their outstanding contribution and ability to mobilize positive change within our community. Through their excellent leadership, the award recipient will energize and inspire people to come together to make a lasting difference in the City and County of Peterborough.


The Board of Directors of United Way Peterborough and District will select a recipient based on the following criteria:

  • Achievement: The nominee achieved progress in addressing a community need or issue
  • Impact: The nominee’s impact on the community was significant
  • Approach: The nominee used an innovative, unique or exemplary approach
  • Mobilization: The nominee mobilized members of the community
  • Involvement: The nominee demonstrated a strong commitment, whether long-term or a first-time involvement
  • Leadership: The nominee demonstrated leadership in addressing a community need or issue

In 2004, Paul and Ina Scholfield were the first recipients of this award. The Scholfield’s have been long-time philanthropists and community builders. Through their generosity and commitment, they lead by example, typifying the spirit of community building. Other recipients of this award include: Marion Burton, Faith Dickinson, Stephen Kylie, Marie Bongard, Sharon Courts, Paul Lafond, People First, John Martyn, Bill Strode, Roy Brady, Survivors Abreast, John McNutt and Special Olympics – Peterborough.

This award is open to any resident or organization within the boundaries of the city and county of Peterborough.  Any individual or representative of national, provincial, regional or local organizations may nominate a candidate.

 Submit your nominations on this form

Nominations must be submitted by 4 pm, March 15th, 2019 to the United Way Peterborough & District office at:

277 Stewart Street, Peterborough, ON  K9J 3M8
Phone: 705-742-8839     Fax: 705-742-9186
Email: erichmond@uwpeterborough.ca

Click here for Media Release.

Click here for Nomination Form.

Peterborough’s low-income earners aren’t moving upward, still below provincial income levels

Our CEO, Jim Russell weighs in on income levels here in Peterborough.  Click here for full article in Peterborough This Week  or read below.

Peterborough’s low-income earners aren’t moving upward, still below provincial income levels

According to a provincial study, since 2000 high-income earners have been making more money while low-income earners have stagnated

NEWS Feb 19, 2019 by Taylor Clysdale  Peterborough This Week
Income Disparity Ontario

An infographic from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario shows the province’s highest income earners made more gains in income than lower-income workers. That statistic and more make up a recent report on income disparity. – Courtesy/FAO

The average household income in Peterborough is thousands of dollars less than the provincial average.

And combined with facts from a new report saying low-income earners are finding it harder to move upward, it’s become difficult to thin the divide between the rich and poor in Ontario.

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario released a report Jan. 31 titled Income in Ontario: Growth, Distribution and Mobility.

Data from that report shows income growth in Ontario from 2000 to 2016 was the slowest of any province, and that Ontario has had the slowest growth in median-family income across the provinces “by a wide margin.”

“The data suggests that it is becoming harder for lower-income Ontarians to move up the income distribution. For middle-income Ontarians, the risk of downward mobility has increased. At the same time, fewer higher-income Ontarians are falling out of high income,” says the report.

And Peterborough is well below the provincial average for income. According to Statistics Canada, the median household income for the city before taxes in 2015 was $58,381. Compare that to the Ontario average of $74,287 or the national average of $70,336.

If low-income earners are able to better keep up with costs then it will improve their chances of increasing their income mobility, says Jim Russell, president of United Way Peterborough and District.

The United Way Peterborough and District sponsors the Housing is Fundamental Report and has undertaken studies on homelessness and income.

“It’s actually a shame the provincial government concluded the pilot project around a guaranteed basic income,” Russell says.

That’s referring to the basic income pilot project, which was launched by the previous Liberal government with 4,000 program participants in Lindsay, Hamilton and Thunder Bay.

On July 31, the Progressive Conservative government cancelled the project. A group attempted to take the province to court over the decision, hoping to overturn it, but on Feb. 14, the court shot down the appeal.

Russell says the information that pilot project, had it finished, would have provided valuable data on whether a basic income helps move people out of living with a low-income.

 Whether a basic income actually helped elevate people up the income scale was something the pilot could have discovered, adds Russell.

He notes that by providing a minimum standard to meet basic needs, people rely less on food banks and charities.

“What we’re seeing right now is the strains on capitalism,” he says.

Russell also says precarious employment is another factor in workers’ inability to improve their incomes.

And many of Peterborough’s workers live with precarious or insecure employment which affects their day-to-day lives. That’s according to studies done by the Precarious Employment Research Initiative, which was performed by Peterborough Public Health with the help of the city and a slew of agencies and institutions.

Precarious work is defined by the initiative as having irregular hours, unpredictable wages, less access to job training and usually consists of part-time, contract or temporary work.

The first study in that initiative found 33 per cent of Peterborough workers face precarious employment, while 29 per cent describe their employment as being vulnerable, 18 per cent say it is stable while only 20 per cent call their work secure.

Peterborough Public Health has also done other research on how having a low-income affects people’s health. According to a 2018 report, individuals who make a low-income have a shorter life expectancy than their high-income counterparts, are more challenged with mental-health issues and rate their own health as being lower than those earning more.

“Individuals living in low income have higher rates of chronic diseases and are more likely to die earlier than individuals who are better off financially,” says the report. “Growing up and living in low income can also contribute to food and employment insecurity, lower levels of education, being poorly housed or homeless, social isolation, stress, and difficulty accessing quality health care.”

It also says that suffering those factors may even perpetuate their low-income status.

Mayor Diane Therrien says it’s no surprise it has become harder to get by as more people are living paycheque to paycheque.

“We know that income inequality has been rising for the last couple decades,” says Therrien.

In part that’s to do with large corporations that aren’t paying their fair share, she says. Outrage from Panama Papers back in 2017, where journalists discovered corporations had been hiding massive amounts of wealth offshore to avoid taxes, has disappeared and no one speaks about it anymore.

“There’s people that have hundreds of millions of dollars that are able to cheat the system,” she says.

Without that money coming in and circulating the economy, the public is worse off, she notes.

But Therrien also says it’s possible to change that. People can advocate to higher levels of government for change and she adds there’s plenty of giving people in the community supporting low-income earners through the United Way, YWCA and Kawartha Food Share.

Locally there’s also been a painful transition as the economy moves away from large-scale manufacturing jobs and people who expected to have careers in those fields need retraining, she says.

“The good full-time jobs aren’t there in the traditional sectors,” she says.

But it’s not hopeless for people who are dealing with this challenge.

The health unit report on the health effects of low-income life says its possible to create communities where people are more easily able to afford the basic necessities of life. It recommends people advocate to their city councillors, MPs and MPPs and to join advocacy groups to deal with issues related to poverty.

Mayor Therrien says advocacy is important, as many people don’t know how to access help or don’t know it exists.

“It’s about linking people up to the services they need,” she says.

Russell says the federal government supports seniors, so there is a precedent supporting a basic income guarantee across Canada.

While some benefitting from that program might be comfortable staying at that minimum income level, others would likely want to augment that, he explains.

And by building on that income and aspiring to “get more and have more” they can move up on the income scale and stay out of poverty.

“We have a lot of work to do at a local level and also pressuring senior levels of government to step up,” says Therrien.

by Taylor Clysdale

Taylor Clysdale covers municipal, provincial and federal politics for Peterborough This Week.You can follow him on Twitter @TaylorClysdale and reach him at tclysdale@mykawartha.com.

Email: tclysdale@mykawartha.com Twitter

Change Starts Here – This is Rob’s Story



Giving is about people. Your local love can truly change a life, right here in the city and county of Peterborough. This is one story.
Thank-you to our community partners who gave Rob the support he needed to change his life. Thank-you to everyone who has donated to our campaign and invested in our friends, family and neighbours.
But mostly, thank you to Rob for your courage to change your life and share your story.
There is still time to give. Please visit our website to make a donation today. https://give.unitedway.ca/donate/WPETER
Film Credits: Megan Murphy & FilmKelly


United Way Peterborough Announces 1.2 million


The United Way of Peterborough and District announced Wednesday morning that the fall campaign has reached $1.2 million toward its goal of raising $1.85 million for the local agencies funded by United Way.

United Way CEO Jim Russell and campaign chairwoman Megan Murphy joined members of the campaign team in making the announcement at the Pagoda Bridge at Jackson Creek Trail in Peterborough.

Media Coverage: