September 26, 2023


United Way Kitchener Waterloo and Area celebrated its 75th anniversary by going back to the beginning. The fundraiser, Social Graces, was used to both celebrate and give back to the variety of agencies they support.

“It is a fundraising event but it’s really more about the recognition of the people who help us out,” said Brian Bourke, United Way’s media and communications specialist.

Organizers brought it back to the very beginning of the agency with a 1940’s theme. In 1941, the Kitchener-Waterloo Federated Charities was created to raise money for the war work being done by local organizations. With the end of the Second World War, they continued to raise money for local social service agencies, including charities. It was then in 1969 that their name changed to Federated Appeal of Kitchener-Waterloo and Area. They decided to join United Way/Centraide Canada and become United Way Kitchener Waterloo and Area on June 12, 1984.

With live music from the K-W Big Band Theory playing songs from the ’40s and everyone dressed for a shindig, attendees had a blast. With women wearing birdcage veils and men in suits and top hats, you really were taken back in time.

“It is crazy how this is what people did in the 1940s,” said Jan Vainer, CEO of the organization, as she watched a group of supporters shuffle on the floor.

Supporters took part in a silent auction of many different prizes, from play tickets to paintings, with all proceeds going to support United Way charities.

“This is a combination event in some ways, it’s partially kind of to celebrate United Way’s 75th anniversary and to get a chance to invite our donors out, our people who you know have been generous with us in the past,” said Bourke.

They had many different booths to entertain their donors, including food provided by Little Mushroom Catering, games, a dress-up photo station and the dance floor where lots of swing dancing took place.

The 45 supported charities are ones that provide food, shelter and counselling, as well as over 140 human care services.

Supporting United Way is simple. To make a donation, go to their website, You can also show your support by holding an event to raise money. You can do this by filling out an event proposal on their website.


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