Why support UWSM? 60 years of success

Deborah Burrows is a long-time United Way donor and a new member of UWSM’s Board of Directors. We asked her “Why United Way Simcoe Muskoka? And why now?” Here’s what she said.

I’m often asked why I joined the UWSM board, why our family gives to United Way. It’s not something I thought about, but when I was asked to write this blog, it became clear…

First, this particular United Way is celebrating 60 years of investing in high-impact programs that address critical social issues in local communities – aka delivering “Local Love.” With six decades of experience, it has basically perfected the art and science of assessing which projects will have the most impact in bettering a community and its people. I’ve spent many years and much money supporting non-profits and know first hand that they often have well-meaning and ambitious intentions, but are not always able to execute well. It takes experience to know which registered charities have the infrastructure and processes in place to get targeted projects completed. Sixty years of learning makes our local United Way worth investing in. I don’t have that level of comfort with any other organization.

Second, United Way Simcoe Muskoka – like many of its counterparts in other jurisdictions – is focused on eliminating poverty in the community where I live. Whether it’s overt – people sleeping on our park benches in the rain, hot or cold, or less obvious – our youth struggling in poor conditions or couch-surfing, poverty affects all of us in the short and long term. Poverty increases the need for medical resources, police resources, extra help at school, social services…the list and the expenses to a community are huge! Although other non-profits, like hospitals, are worthy of my time and money, I prefer to tackle the core of what puts so much stress on all of these critical services.

United Way has become a more quiet organization since I was a kid, but the voices of those who have been helped, whose lives have been transformed are clear and compelling. If you don’t believe me, listen to their stories. That’s what matters to me – hearing and seeing the results of my monies and time. I want to see the kids, women, men in my area being lifted up and out of poverty – and then able to focus on healthier priorities to the point where they too can give back – like so many of those helped by programs funded by United Way.

Does elevating those experiencing poverty matter to you? Helping them access nutritious food, stay warm in winter and get the support they need to find pathways out of poverty? What about building financial skills and knowledge in our most fragile youth to alter the cycle of generational family poverty?

If you too care about building up your local community, helping those who are struggling, join me in donating to 60 years of experience!


In our region, 15,860 children under the age of 18 live with low income, according to the most recent Census data (2016).

At United Way Simcoe Muskoka, our donors help local youth find and keep safe housing, stay in school, and gain life-skills and other supports to become independent and successful adults.

Learn more about youth poverty in Simcoe Muskoka.

Local giving. Local love. #LocalLove



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