VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 9, 2011) - Donors stepped up to support United Way of the Lower Mainland's 2010 fundraising campaign, contributing over $29.5 million to improve lives and strengthen communities throughout the region.

Approximately 800 people gathered for breakfast at the Scotiabank & United Way Community Spirit Awards in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 9. The event honoured volunteers and donors who supported the annual United Way campaign.

Thousands of volunteers, donors and organizations supported United Way of the Lower Mainland's 2010 fundraising campaign. Professor Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor University of British Columbia, and Kevin Layden, President and CEO, Wesbild Holdings Ltd., co-chaired the 2010 campaign.

Last year, thanks to the generosity of donors, United Way touched the lives of about 350,000 people across the Lower Mainland.

Three Lower Mainland social service agencies were recognized with a Celebration of Community Award presented by Scotiabank. The Celebration of Community Award recognizes community initiatives that respond in innovative ways to changing social conditions.

The South Asian Seniors Outreach Project, provided by DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, provides support to newcomer South Asian seniors in the Surrey area. The program offers a safe and friendly way for local seniors to become connected through educational workshops and recreational programs, such as swimming and fitness.

Simon Fraser University's Friends of Simon recruits, prepares and assigns Simon Fraser University students as literacy tutors in the Lower Mainland, particularly with newcomer students. Working with community agencies and schools, Friends of Simon offers tutoring support during after-school, Saturday and summer programs. Children increase their literacy skills through a range of activities.

The Society for Children and Youth of BC's Child Rights Public Awareness Campaign was launched to educate parents, teachers, policy makers and others on what child rights really mean and why it is important to uphold them. Greater public awareness of child rights leads to increased advocacy for children and adults, increased funding and services, and ultimately improved well-being for children and their families.

Said Michael McKnight, President and CEO United Way of the Lower Mainland, "Together, we are breaking down barriers of poverty, vulnerability and isolation. We are making people's lives better, every single day. Our community is stronger when more people live with hope and opportunity."

United Way's priority is to measurably improve the lives of children and seniors. United Way also works with community partners to support immigrants and newcomers and people challenged by poverty and homelessness. For more information visit

Contact Information: United Way of the Lower Mainland
Michael Becker
Media Relations
604-268-1333 or Cell 778-836-7530