The West Island leads the way in community giving

Volunteerism is key component to success of non-profits

By Jim Morrison

When it comes to community giving, nobody stands taller then the citizens of the West Island. And more growth can be hoped for in 2014.

In a recent Fraser Institute report, a B.C. think tank, Manitoba lead the way with the highest percentage of tax filers with 25.9 per cent donating to charity. Quebec gives 21 per cent to charity, but the West Island provides 26.1 per cent to the non-profits.

West Island Community Shares has had a 14 per cent annual growth from 2007-2012. The organization supports 36 community groups, representing 66 per cent of the charities, reaching 40,000 residents a year.

“Our goal in the next two years is twofold. We want to increase funding we give to recurrent groups we support, and to take on one or two additional groups that deserve our endorsement. Our aim in the next three years is to get $ 2,000,000 handed out annually. We aim to be a stable and recurrent partner to all West Island charities,” said WICS executive director, Caroline Tison.

“We take care of more than 1,000 people per year through our different programs, not to mention the impact these services have on the caregivers, the public health care system, and the community at large. Community and individual contributions help us help vulnerable people in 16 different municipalities of the West Island,” Marie-France Juneau, executive director, Nova West Island, told The Suburban.

The community is facing tough economic times, and is careful where its dollars are being spent.

“WICS adds value to the community sector, the stability we offer the sector means jobs are saved, youth workers are maintained, benefiting from stable workers, helping them make progress even further,” continued Tison. “We are seeing donor fatigue.”

People are being solicited left, right, and centre. The competition is all part of the same pie with the same amount of money. Collaboration exists amongst us,” added Juneau.

Volunteerism is the key component to the success of non-profits.

“We are powered by our 300 active volunteers, people who care and would not be able to raise over $1.1 million a year, if we didn’t have these golden resources. We provide the proper tools, and we thank them appropriately. We realize they make sacrifices when they give their time” added Tison.

Nova West Island’s active volunteer base is made up of 250 for their six programs offered, plus an additional 225 which handle the five thrift shops.

“Our volunteers give us 16,000 hours a year. Quality and safety are very important, which is why we are certified by Accreditation Canada. We engage our volunteers by offering training, meetings, free flu shots, and an annual recognition during National Volunteer week in April” said Juneau.

The sustainability of the non-profits in the West Island is in a good position, with the resolve of its citizens.

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