Local business owner Mike DiBrina admits he's a bit nervous about leading the United Way Sudbury and Nipissing Districts' 2014 fundraising campaign, but said he's looking forward to the challenge.
The organization, which typically starts fundraising in the fall, announced DiBrina will be this year's campaign chair at its May 20 annual general meeting.
United Way is a “pillar of our community,” said DiBrina, the owner of DiBrina Sure Group.
“It improves people's lives,” he said. “It assists so many people in so many different ways, from children to people who are in poverty or are in bad times. So it's a great cause, it's a great charity.”
The 2014 campaign vice-chair is Lisa Bonin, owner of Eventful Times. She'll spend the next year assisting DiBrina in his task, and as is customary, Bonin will be next year's campaign chair.
Last year, United Way Sudbury and Nipissing Districts brought in $2,075,000, meaning it's already raised about 30 per cent of its three-year, $7-million campaign goal.
“We're looking forward to an amazing campaign, and just really working hard to reach our three-year goal, which I will have the privilege of closing off as chair,” Bonin said.
She said she's very determined to reach that goal.
DiBrina follows Northern Ontario Business and Sudbury Living Magazine publisher Patricia Mills as campaign chair.
Mills became campaign chair last fall after former Rainbow District School Board director of education Jean Hanson had to bow out due to illness. Hanson passed away Feb. 3, after a long battle with cancer.
The organization also announced North Bay physician Dr. Catherine Whiting will lead the fundraising campaign in the Nipissing district, as she did last year.
The annual general meeting also included a presentation on the organization's financial position, the election of officers, and the presentation of awards and community grants.
Barb Nott and Ashley Thompson, the United Way Sudbury and Nipissing Districts' chair and vice-chair, respectively, will remain in their roles for 2014.
The organization announced that 14 different organizations in the Sudbury and Nipissing areas will benefit from a total of $67,000 in community grants.
Executive director Michael Cullen explained that these are funds not previously allocated through regular grants.
During the meeting, Cullen announced that the organization's service award has now been named in Hanson's memory, and will now be known as the Jean Hanson Lifetime Service Award.
Hanson was presented with the award shortly before she passed away.
Mills and Whiting were both presented with the United Way Community Award for their participation in fundraising.