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Castlegar United Way to close its doors

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 20th, 2013

The region is slated to bid adieu to yet another non-profit organization – the Castlegar United Way – due to lack of volunteers and donours.

United Way president Nicole Beetstra said the almost-half-century-old charity will be closing its doors on May 31, with the official announcement coming at a general meeting on April 2.

“The meeting is somewhat of a formality,” Beetstra said. “We have to hold a special meeting to let our agencies know what the closing date is, and how we’re dispersing our remaining funds.”

Beetstra was quick to emphasize that any remaining money will not be shipped off to United Way corporate headquarters – every single dollar, she said, will be dispersed locally.

As for the closure, she said Castlegar United Way is closing its doors for good.

“The last several years, we’ve had diminishing donations and volunteers,” she said. “We can’t meet United Way of Canada’s mission, so we can’t sustain our operations.”

Beetstra said the writing has been on the wall for some time now – since well before she took over as president roughly a year ago.

“With the economy as it is, there’s only so much resources to go around, in terms of both money and manpower,” she said. “I took over the presidency because they had no president, and no one else who had experience at this sort of role – I was kind of the last man standing.”

The United Way operates by raising funds, then having qualified agencies apply for those funds – the Castlegar branch has helped organizations like FreedomQuest, Kootenay Family Place, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and many, many more.

“Anything that anyone has ever done for United Way in the community, be it volunteering or cash donations, I really want them to know it was really appreciated and valued,” she said, adding she’s sure residents will find other venues and agencies through which to volunteer and give back, such as the newly-formed Castlegar Foundation. “This is an incredibly generous community.”

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