Our Mission & Priorities

To improve lives and build communities by leveraging collective resources and mobilizing collective action to achieve the greatest impact.

Everyone in Simcoe Muskoka deserves a chance to lead a good life. This conviction drives thousands of dedicated donors, volunteers and community partners to come together through United Way Simcoe Muskoka to generate the caring power to advance measurable, lasting change in our region
– for today’s residents and for generations to come.

Together, we focus on three key strategies that create opportunities for everyone in our region to achieve a better life.

Moving people
from poverty to possibility

By supporting those living in poverty with programs that help meet basic needs and create opportunities to build a brighter future.

Building accessible
& inclusive communities

By filling service gaps to ensure every person across our region has the chance to participate and thrive in their community.

Helping kids
be all they can be

By ensuring children and youth have the resources necessary to improve their chances of success in school and in life.

We rise or fall together. With your support, we can reach new heights!
UWSM Strategic Plan. 2018/2019 – 2022/2023
Volunteer Now. Your generosity can make an Impact

Staff team

Embracing different abilities, perspectives and experiences, we are jointly motivated by a strong commitment to service – to our donors, our neighbours and our region. Our achievements are defined by the collective success of the communities we serve. Devoted to excellence and innovation, we strive to go beyond expectations, always seeking new and better ways to achieve our shared goals.

Dale Biddell
Chief Executive Officer

“People provide me with the motivation, inspiration and desire to leave my campsite better than I found it.” With an M.A. in Philanthropy and 25+ years in business and community leadership, Dale has established four charitable foundations and served on 10 boards. Recently, the change maker, coach and collaborator has transformed United Way Simcoe Muskoka into a leading-edge social-change agency. She values UWSM’s unique role in understanding the most pressing challenges facing local communities, partnering to find solutions, and engaging donors to build the communities we all want to live in.

Lynne Trotechaud
Women’s Leadership Council Associate/Board Liaison

Although born in Orillia, Lynne lived abroad before recently returning to Simcoe Muskoka. Now she is enjoying re-acquainting herself with local communities and learning about the work that’s being done to make them stronger. At UWSM, she supports the Board of Directors and the growth of Women’s Leadership Council, a philanthropic network addressing the issues affecting women and girls. Lynne, who studied Community and Justice Services, spent several years at a non-profit in Mexico with the same focus. Our countries and communities may look very different, she observes, but core needs are very similar.

Mary Thomas
Director, Strategic Development

UWSM’s mission and Mary’s are one in the same: the desire to make a difference in the community. After early success in the technology sector, she decided to follow her heart and employ her sales and management skills to improve life for our most vulnerable populations. Now, with more than a decade of volunteering and experience at some of Ontario’s largest public and non-profit organizations, Mary is dedicated to building the strategies and gathering the resources to ensure every resident of Simcoe Muskoka has the tools to craft successful lives.

Paulina Robertson
Senior Relationship Manager

Paulina joined UWSM after leading fundraising portfolios at two other United Ways. She speaks from experience as she develops further collaborations between UWSM and the local labour movement. Many years ago, she received help from a community program and realized the importance of such easily accessible and strong support systems. An opportunity to join United Way turned into a 23-year career (so far!) and she hasn’t looked back. She thinks the best part of her job is working with like-minded individuals who see the need and are willing to support UWSM.

Lori-Ann Seward
Relationship Manager

An active volunteer throughout her adult life and a current leader of the local Francophone community, Lori-Ann has passion for non-profit initiatives that create a lasting community impact. She contributes to UWSM by fostering mutually beneficial relationships with the donors who make this impact happen. Having complemented her Business Administration Degree with a post-graduate Fundraising and Resource Development Certificate, Lori-Ann appreciates the ongoing mentorship she receives from the leaders at UWSM, who she recognizes as “pioneers of social innovation.”

Suzanne Prosser
Relationship Manager (Muskoka, Orillia & North Simcoe)

With a self-admitted need to help people, Suzanne loves to share information about the resources available in local communities – and how UWSM funding makes a difference in the lives of our neighbours by making those resources stronger and more accessible. Her 20 years in the charitable sector has taught her the value of listening – to the challenges of front-line staff who deliver programming; to residents who are affected in so many different ways to the pressures of today’s world, and to the donors who each have a vision of a better tomorrow.

Laara Losier
Relationship Manager

Laara sees herself as a community connector, matching people interested in making a donation to the right giving opportunity. She realizes she was fortunate to have grown up in a community and a family that surrounded her with support and gave her a great start. Now she wants to build on her education (a B.A. in English and a Volunteer Management Certificate) and give back. Laara believes there is something truly satisfying in bringing individuals together, connecting them to a common goal, and building a better, brighter community because of it.

Michele Lawson
Communications Specialist

As a journalist, videographer and media producer, Michele has focused her training and experience on the non-profit sector as an employee, consultant and volunteer. She is thankful for the support and good fortune she has enjoyed throughout her life, and feels strongly about giving back. UWSM’s corporate communications, marketing and media relations provide a constant supply of interesting challenges that Michele enjoys meeting through collaboration and innovation. Having spent most of her life in Simcoe Muskoka, she values the opportunity to strengthen local communities for her loved ones and neighbours.

Rosslyn Junke
Director, Community Impact

After six years assisting regional employees with their UWSM fundraising, Roz moved to the community impact and investment side of the house where she oversees the deployment of donor dollars with the help of passionate and skilled volunteers. A B.A. in Canadian Studies and post-graduate certificate in Resource Development provide an ideal foundation for the multi-layered challenges Roz faces while addressing high-priority social issues and local service gaps. She feels fortunate to live, work and volunteer in a community where there is such strong cross-sector collaboration tackling these big problems.

Dan Shepherdson,
Director, Corporate Services

Dan brings over 40 years of financial and corporate experience gained from a wide array of industry sectors. In addition to a Bachelor of Mathematics, he holds multiple professional accreditations, and is also a Professional Director. Dan’s career has included extensive experience in the areas of public accounting, internal audit, corporate management, entrepreneurial ventures, and academia, and for over 25 years, he held the position of Managing Director and Professional Counsel in a successful private financial practice, specializing in financial reporting, taxation, systems development, and general business, legal, and corporate consulting. Dan has held many senior executive appointments, including Director of Internal Audit, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer, for both private, and publicly listed companies, and he is active on various Boards of Directors.  His experience and “outside the box” thinking is a key component that will help to ensure that the service offerings provided to our communities in Simcoe Muskoka are effective and efficient, and that we remain fully accountable to all our stakeholders.

Andrew McCullough
System Administrator

With a Master’s degree in History and graduate certificate in research, Andrew’s commitment to learning new things and applying that education is well documented. UWSM staff and volunteers rely on his ability to develop technology-based solutions that streamline processes, increase internal capacity, and produce valuable data that drives funding decisions. Andrew credits his research background for his ability to visualize and present innovative solutions. His thirst for knowledge and efficacy is quenched on a daily basis as he confronts new and varied challenges that are important for his community’s wellbeing.

Jenna Thorkildsen
Programs Coordinator, Community Impact