Comox Valley Outcomes of Community and Agency Consultations

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					               Comox Valley:
Outcomes of Community and Agency Consultations


                       Prepared for
          The Community Investment Committee
     United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island




                      Prepared by
                       Linda Dier
                  LDG Consulting Group
                    October 16, 2009
                 Index
Introduction                               3

Overview of Consultation Outcomes          3

Recommendations:

         Preamble                          7

         Recommendation One                8

         Recommendation Two                10

         Recommendation Three              13

         Recommendation Four               14

         Recommendation Five               15

         Recommendation Six                17

  Conclusion                               17

 Appendix One: Committee Members           18

 Appendix Two: Consultation Participants   19

 Appendix Three: Community Feedback        21

 Appendix Four: Agency Feedback            25

 Appendix Five: Strong, Healthy Communities 27

 Appendix Six: Understanding the United Way 29




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                     Introduction


This document presents the outcomes of consultations in the Comox Valley that were
commissioned by the Community Investment Committee (CIC), a sub-committee of the Board
of the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI). Prior to the community
consultation, local agencies were consulted by a sub-committee of the CIC. Appendix One lists
members of the Community Investment Committee. An independent consultant was retained
to organize and facilitate the community consultation process. For the purposes of this report,
the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island is sometimes simply referred to as the
United Way.

The consultation process took place between August and October, 2009 during which time it
was publicized, in- person and telephone interviews were conducted, a consultation meeting
was held on September 16, an interim report was prepared for discussion and the final report
was written. It is noteworthy that publicity attempts were only marginally successful in
attracting participants to the community consultation meeting. In the final analysis, most
people were there as a result of personal contact made by the consultant to explain the process
and invite their attendance. In total, 99 people were contacted during this process. The
advantage of personal interaction with so many different people while issuing invitations was
the opportunity for the consultant to collect information through individual conversations.

Participants at the meetings formed a microcosm of the overall community and represented
agencies and organizations, businesses, the military, clergy, school district, municipal politicians
and the general public. Discussion was lively, thoughtful, candid and productive resulting in a
great deal of information for the United Way to consider as it plans for future work in the
Comox Valley. Appendix Two contains the list of participants in both the community and
agency consultations.

Overview of Consultation Outcomes

Information gathered has been analyzed and synthesized in order to achieve a comprehensive
understanding of what the community and agencies were saying. The raw data fell quite
naturally into six key themes which are highlighted here to provide an understanding of the
context within which the recommendations in this report were developed. The complete
collection of raw data from the community and agency consultation processes can be found in
Appendices Three and Four respectively.

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1. Communication and Trust

A significant theme in the consultation feedback focused on communication and trust.
“Accountability up and down” was a phrase used. The opinion was asserted that those who
make the decisions should live in the community and facilitate community partner meetings on
a regular basis. Others cited the need for effective communication, fairness, open-mindedness,
recognition of community uniqueness and agency needs. The hope was expressed that
directors and staff of the United Way would serve as role models in the community, be widely
knowledgeable and “not agenda-driven.”

The need to build trust is evident. Someone asked, “How did they decide that previous
outcomes were ineffective?” Others expressed the wish that decisions not be based on past
issues and that the agenda of the awarding committee not automatically disqualify
organizations. Hope was conveyed that the Board and staff of the United Way will be open to
and aware of current and future requirements. The desire for local representation was
expressed in several ways in different contexts.

2. Leadership

Consultation participants encouraged the United Way to play a leadership role in ensuring that
service providers network and work together. Service integration has been identified as a
priority and people are looking to the United Way to establish coalitions among groups with
similar mandates. Building agency capacity by providing training, resources, services and
opportunities to collaborate is a key focus identified by participants.

The United Way is seen as a potential catalyst for change through networking with community
organizations, businesses and service clubs – a service to support all organizations in the
community. The United Way is exhorted to demonstrate leadership in honouring diversity and
informing the community about the issues that result in people needing supports. Political
action to focus public attention on key community concerns is seen as a worthy leadership goal
for the United Way.

Other leadership opportunities identified include the coordination of multi-service fundraising
efforts and the development of an integrated Community Resource Centre. It was also
suggested that the creation of a network of committed, trained volunteers to support the work
of service providers would be valued.

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3. Maximum Impact

Results of the consultation clearly point to the need for what one participant referred to as a
“duplication review to determine service overlaps and gaps.” Another participant stated
explicitly, “Don’t separately fund agencies that are doing the same job.” Many suggested that
like-minded organizations be merged and funding shared.

Work on the issue of homelessness was cited as one example where service duplication occurs
in the Comox Valley. At least four organizations are working on this issue, all of them according
to their own philosophy and ideology. It appears that the community is split around this issue.
According to many it has become political and competitive. A spirit of cooperation is needed
and the United Way is encouraged to provide the leadership needed to streamline services in
this area.

The United Way is encouraged to take what was referred to a “managerial stance” in its work
with agencies and in so doing to look for ways to build efficiencies through sharing overhead
and other costs. It was also suggested that managers of NPOs would benefit from support to
narrow their focus and target their efforts for maximum impact. The observation was made
that people in the helping profession often attempt to do too much with the result that services
get diluted and workers become overwhelmed when expected results are not seen. Clearly
stated deliverables with well-articulated strategies for working are important. Regular
monitoring and evaluation are necessary to ensure that efforts are paying off. Many people
suggested that conditions for funding ought to include streamlining of services, efficiencies of
spending and a clearly articulated accountability process. The community has given a clear
mandate for the United Way to allocate funds only to projects/services that are realistic and
deliverable. There is a clear call for co-operation, collaboration and mutual support among
service providers.

4. Funding Allocations

As might be expected, there are numerous expectations and hopes pertaining to funding
allocations. Participants expressed the belief that core funding as well as project funding
should be provided and that both large and small efforts ought to be supported.
Responsiveness to changing needs was cited as being important. There was a suggestion that
organizations applying for funding be thoroughly investigated to ensure that they meet United
Way criteria for funding. Past performance and accountability outcomes should be taken into

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consideration and agencies with proven track records recognized. Programs and services that
result in sustainable outcomes (as opposed to bandaid solutions) should be given priority.

Prevention and capacity building were identified as the two primary guiding principles for
funding allocation. There is great value in providing opportunities for people to be engaged
with their community and through that, developing the self-esteem and life skills they need to
be successful. It was stated that the Comox Valley is a have/have not community and services
are not accessible to all.

Capacity building was described as providing a “hand up instead of a hand out.” It was
suggested that funding allocations focus on making it possible for people to preserve their
dignity and develop resilience by helping themselves. Programs to improve life skills and self
sufficiency are seen as valuable as are opportunities to raise levels of personal and family
competence through community connectedness, support and education.

During the community consultation process, participants spent some time discussing the
characteristics of communities that are strong and healthy. During those discussions, the point
was often made that the social needs are so great that it is unlikely that there will ever be
enough money to address all of them. It was therefore agreed that to achieve maximum
impact with the money available, priorities must be set that will support comprehensive,
streamlined services and programs to build capacity for the future. See Appendix Five for the
transcription of this discussion.

5. Research

In addition to being responsive to input from the community, participants in the consultation
suggested that the work of the United Way in the Comox Valley also be informed by current
research findings. Examples of information sources identified are:

      Health Canada’s Determinants of Health
      The Mayor’s Task Force to End Homelessness
      The Comox Valley Social Planning Report
      Early Childhood Development research
      Local crime statistics would surface target groups in need of support.
      Community census outcomes
      Successful models in other communities like the Comox Valley


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      “Toward Recovery and Well-Being: A Framework for a Mental Health Strategy for
       Canada”
      “Healthy Futures for BC Families”, a policy platform and position paper developed by
       the BC Healthy Living Alliance.

6. United Way Profile

The United Way should not assume that the general public understands it; therefore, it is
important to focus on being visible in the community by reporting where money raised has
gone and the impact it has had. Many suggestions were put forward regarding the importance
of informing the community about the work of the United Way. People clearly see the value of
profiling agencies that are supported by the United Way, highlighting their successes and
recognizing accomplishments. Volunteer recognition was also cited as being important. It is
important that the public be aware of the United Way Anthem, its working philosophy and its
goals. Appendix Six contains the transcription of discussions at the beginning of the community
meeting about what participants knew about the United Way.

Recommendations

Preamble

In essence, the UWCNVI is a neophyte and is in the challenging position of merging three
distinct ‘arms’ of the United Way into one. Each of them had a distinct culture and each brings
its own personality and history to the new entity. The newly formed UWCNVI must now work
at creating a culture that is congruent throughout the organization while at the same time
being respectful of the uniqueness of each of the communities encompassed by it.

The goals for the consultation in the Comox Valley were:
    To build ownership for a new era of involvement with the United Way through the
       United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island
    To review and consolidate understanding of overall United Way mission and goals
    To provide information about the outcomes of the spring UWACNVI consultation in the
       central Island area
    To involve the people of Comox Valley in identifying future directions for United Way
       work and funding in their area



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This section of the report contains recommendations that have been formulated based on
information received during the consultation process. In their development the outcomes from
the spring consultations in the Central Island portion of UWCNVI were also considered. Each
recommendation is accompanied by a discussion which presents rationale, offers insights and
articulates approaches to consider.

The bottom line in all considerations is the integrity of the United Way – its mission and values
as well as the public’s perception of the work it does. With this in mind, the first
recommendation is offered. Subsequent recommendations in this report flow from the first
one.

        Recommendation One

        That the newly formed Board of UWCNVI work together to develop an
        operational blueprint to guide its actions and those of its staff into the future.
        Further, it is recommended that the plan be consistently monitored and
        adjusted as needed. The first step will be to share it with the agencies and
        other interested constituents in all of the communities encompassed by
        UWCNVI.

Discussion

This recommendation is consistent with the first recommendation in the final report of
the spring consultations done in the Central Island area. It is even more important now
than was thought in May because of the geographic expanse of UWCNVI and the
distinctly unique characteristics of the communities that are encompassed in it. The fact
that three new Board members from two different communities have joined an already
existing Board adds to the urgency of taking the time and harnessing the energy required
to develop a blueprint.

The development process is as important as the blueprint itself. Among other things, it
will consider such Board-related questions as:
       * How community representation on the Board is determined?
       * What constitutes equitable community representation on the Board?
       * Is the current community representation on the Board equitable?
       * Do members of the Board understand the unique characteristics of the
         community that each represents?

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     * How will the Board work together effectively given the distances between
       communities?
     * How will the Board ensure that all communities receive the support and service
       they need from UWCNVI?
     * How will the Board develop productive working relationships between the various
       communities?
     * Is the current UWCNVI staffing component adequate to meet the needs and work
       effectively in all communities?

In addition to building coherence with the Board, the process of developing a blueprint
will result in consistent communication with UWCNVI communities. It will outline the
vision for the future as well as the rationale for organizational structures and future
funding directions. These things are particularly important now because both Campbell
River and Comox Valley are coming into a previously established Central Island
organization. Consultation outcomes in both areas have indicated that, while these
communities value their affiliation with the United Way, they wonder if they will receive
equal treatment. Both have experienced some turbulence in recent years and,
understandably, are somewhat defensive and cautious.

Trust and productive working relationships are enhanced when there are consistent
guidelines and processes for working throughout the organization that are understood by
all. Discrepancies in support and communication from community to community in
UWCNVI will be very counter-productive. A well-thought-out and carefully
communicated blueprint would go a long way toward building trust with the newcomers
and creating bridges between them and the ‘veteran’ communities.

To reiterate the metaphor used in the spring report, a strong blueprint for future action
will “get everyone singing from the same page”. Even if people are not that fond of the
music, they will know the melody and why that particular song is being sung. To extend
the metaphor, beautiful music can be made only if all of the musicians are following the
same score.

For the Central Island communities, the big news this year has been the implementation
of the Impact Council with all the potential change that implies. The implications for the
communities of Campbell River and Comox Valley are considerably larger. They must
adjust to a new United Way organization plus new ways of doing business all at once.
This should be acknowledged and planned for.

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The following is offered as a ‘menu’ for a blueprint.

1. A statement of values that provides the foundation for the work of the Board and
   UWCNVI staff with each other, with service providers and with the community at large.
2. A statement of funding criteria that is based on those values.
3. An organizational structure for coordinating the work of the United Way, gathering
   information about current services in the community in order to make funding
   decisions and providing leadership for service providers in the community.
4. An accountability plan for funded agencies that outlines data requirements as well as
   identifies evaluation and monitoring processes.
5. A clearly articulated application process that includes the accountability requirements.
6. A plan for using ongoing research and community consultation to guide, monitor
   and gauge the effectiveness of the blueprint.
7. A communication strategy that will inform the community about the work of the
   United Way as well as the resources available in the community.
8. An implementation plan for the blueprint which identifies timelines, responsibilities,
   implementation strategies and supports that will be provided.

Careful implementation is an essential component of any plan if it is to be successful. The
“roll out” of the blueprint is important because it sets the stage for subsequent work. The
most immediate aspects of the plan are the statement of vision, the overall UWCNVI
organizational structure, the identified funding principles, and funding criteria. The
importance of people understanding the aims and expectations of the United Way up-
front and having opportunities for clarification cannot be overstated.

         Recommendation Two

         That UWCNVI implement an organizational structure in Campbell River and the
         Comox Valley which consists of an Impact Council and an Action Council to
         gather information about services in the community in order to make funding
         decisions and to provide needed leadership. Further, it is recommended that
         the chairs of the Impact and Action Councils be members of the UWCNVI
         Coalition of Councils.




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Discussion

Thinking About the Impact Council

The UWCNVI has already established one Impact Council in the Central Island area. It will
serve as a prototype for the work of future Impact Councils in UWCNVI. As it works,
lessons will be learned that will provide guidance for the work of subsequent Impact
Councils in other communities.

In general, these guidelines for Impact Councils will apply:

      Membership will consist of representatives from diverse sectors of the community
       who bring knowledge and an informed perspective about the community.
       Members of the Impact Council must be able to set aside personal agendas in
       order to collaborate and see a ‘big picture’ of how to achieve maximum impact in
       the community.
      The mandate of the Impact Council will be to ascertain the current status of
       community needs and services in order to make decisions about overall
       organization and funding guidelines. The Council will consult with service
       providers to gather the information it needs.
      A clear understanding of its mandate along with commitment and strong
       leadership will be critical prerequisites if the Impact Council is to succeed. In the
       past NPOs have been accustomed to functioning with relative autonomy.
       Competing for funding dollars has been the norm. It may be unrealistic to expect
       that people will easily give up the “old and understood” ways of doing business
       without both pressure and support to do so.

The following actions describe the work of the Impact Council:

       a) Develop a comprehensive overview of services that currently exist in the
          community by gathering information about the mission, goals and plans of each
          agency involved as well as the kind of service provided and the number of
          clients served. Data pertaining to core employees and volunteers will also be
          gathered.
       b) Review accountability data from each agency to evaluate the effectiveness of
           programs and service delivery.
       c) Identify areas of service duplication.

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        d) Identify areas where service is needed but is currently unavailable.
        e) Develop a plan for streamlining and scaffolding the service network for the
           community.
        f) Make recommendations to the Board about funding.

With anything new there is likely to be a steep learning curve as people struggle to make
sense of the change that is underway. Ongoing monitoring will be important to identify
problem areas. Speedy ‘in flight’ correction to address them is crucial for long-term
success. With the first Impact Council already working, the opportunity for collaboration
and mentorship exists. Not only will this augment the work of the Councils, it also will go
a long way toward with the creation of a unified UWCNVI.

Thinking about the Action Council

The mandate for the Action Council will be to address areas in which needs for
coordination and leadership have been identified. The focus of its work includes but is
not limited to the following activities:

       a) Workshops and training for volunteers, core staff and NPO Boards
       b) Research into best practices for service providers
       c) Development of integrated resource manuals and directories
       d) Coordination of purchasing, accounting and other operational functions to
          maximize efficiencies

Members of the Action Council will be strong leaders who possess or know how to access
specialized skills in the areas identified for coordination and leadership action. To work
most effectively, the Campbell River and Comox Valley Action Councils will liaise with
each other and other Action Councils in UWCNVI to share information and streamline
efforts. As with the Impact Council, it is critical that members of the Action Council also
be able to see the ‘big picture’ as well as be proactive and committed to moving the work
forward. A clear sense of direction along with access to the necessary knowledge and skill
will be required.

Activities will include gathering pertinent information as well as formulating and
implementing plans in identified areas. While volunteers may be available and able to do
some of the work, there are likely to be things for which it will be necessary to hire
outside expertise. The Action Council is likely to have some funding needs related to the

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‘what and how’ of their work. It may be necessary to dedicate some money to these
efforts or apply to obtain grant money to accomplish this work.

Thinking About the Coalition of Councils

With a number of Impact and Action Councils at work in UWCNVI, it will be important to
coordinate their collective efforts to ensure maximum efficiency and impact. The
Coalition of Councils will consist of members of the Board and the chairs of the Impact
and Action Councils in each area.

While it is a given that all of the money raised in each community stays there and funding
allocations must be responsive to the unique needs of each, there is still room for an
over-arching service network plan that is comprehensive and coordinated. The
communities encompassed by UWCNVI can accomplish more by working together than
any of them can individually.

The mandate of the Coalition will be to consolidate a comprehensive plan for funding
allocations and leadership support throughout the UWCNVI region. This entity will bring
the UWCNVI communities together to learn from each other, share research and training
efforts and search for ways to optimize service to their community. It will serve to
prevent duplication of effort by promoting knowledge sharing, division of responsibility
and joint planning. The Coalition of Councils will be another unifying mechanism for the
communities of UWCNVI.

        Recommendation Three

        That UWCNVI employ someone in the Comox Valley to work on its behalf.

Discussion

It is recognized that a Community Development Coordinator is already working in the Comox
Valley. This recommendation is predicated on perceived need for someone to perform a
different kind of service. There is a call from the community for leadership to ensure that the
service integration that has been identified as a priority in that community is achieved. As well,
the desire was expressed for leadership that would assist with building agency capacity by
providing NPOs with training, resources, services and opportunities to collaborate. Participants
in the consultation indicated that there is a lot of work to be done in the Comox Valley to

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streamline services and build efficiencies. The presence of an on-site person would assist
greatly in the accomplishment of that work. It would also go a long way toward satisfying the
community’s desire for local involvement in day-to-day UWCNVI operations.

Since the geographical area of UWCNVI is considerably larger as a result of its expansion to
include the Comox Valley and Campbell River, it is reasonable to expect that additional staff will
be required.

        Recommendation Four

        That Comox Valley Impact Council coordinate services and make funding
        recommendations for their community with particular focus on the following
        target groups:
              a) Children and youth along with their parents and/or caregivers
              b) Young adults (age 19 – 23) who no longer have system supports
              c) Seniors and their families or caregivers

Although the issue of homelessness has a very high profile in the Comox Valley, this
recommendation purposely does not identify the homeless as a target group because it is a
pervasive issue in most communities today and the monetary requirements to address it go far
beyond what can be provided by the United Way.

Participants in the consultation process were very clear in the call for programs/services aimed
at prevention, early intervention and capacity building. The underlying causes of homelessness
are conditions such as mental illness, addiction, weak support systems and lack of life skills.
These can often be prevented or addressed through early intervention. As one participant put
it, “prevention is more cost effective than correction” and there is great value in creating
opportunities to engage people in positive, pro-social endeavours that prevent feelings of
isolation and divert them from risky activities and destructive behaviours. A clear message in
the consultation process was to build personal capacity through training, education and
opportunity acquire confidence, decision-making, communication and other life skills which
help them to be resilient. “Offering a hand up” was identified as a guiding principal for United
Way funding decisions.

Children and youth, along with their families and caregivers were identified as a group that
should receive significant support. Reliable child care, health and safety nets are important.
So are strong literacy and learning programs. Children and youth need opportunities to

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develop personal and leadership abilities through interaction with others their own age and
people of all ages. Involvement in sports activities and the arts helps to channel energy and
develops self-esteem through satisfying the needs for belonging and competence. Involvement
in pro-social projects and community activities are important for their development.
Engagement is the antidote for isolation and aimlessness which are often the precursors to self-
destructive, anti-social behaviours. Engagement activities provide the forum for keeping watch
on our children and youth in order to identify the need for intervention when it occurs.

Young adults between 19 and 23 (or so) who do not have family connections or are no longer in
the foster care system are identified as being at very high risk for capitulating into anti-social
behaviours. Statistically, they are also at high risk for suicide, especially the young men. These
young people often flounder and end up marginalized. According to participants in the
consultation process, this is a group that would benefit from preventive intervention and
capacity building.

Seniors and their families or caregivers also require support. One person referred to the
importance of addressing the “disease of loneliness” in the senior population through advocacy
and community involvement. Families and caregivers often require assistance to deal with the
decline of health and mental acuity in their parents and loved ones. Elder abuse in our society
is more prevalent than any of us would like to acknowledge. A strong community makes it
possible for seniors to continue to sustain quality of life, get medical attention as needed and
continue to interact with the outside world when they are infirm.

        Recommendation Five

        That UWCNVI clearly outline and communicate the criteria for funding,
        the application process and the accountability requirements inherent
        in receiving funding.

Discussion

There is a lot of interest among consultation participants in the process for applying for and
receiving funding from the United Way. The advent of the new UWCNVI entity and the
commitment to new guidelines for future funding decisions presents an opportunity for the
development of a well-articulated funding plan. Such a plan would include but not be limited
to the following components:


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                  Principles for allocating funds
                  Eligibility criteria
                  Terms of funding (i.e. one year? multiple years?)
                  The application process (i.e. timelines, support materials required, hard
                   copy? Online?)
                  Accountability requirements (i.e. Qualitative? Quantitative? Interim
                   evaluation? Final evaluation? Timelines)
                  How funding decisions are made (i.e. role of the UWCNVI Board, the Impact
                   and Action Councils, and the Coalition of Councils)
                  Availability of support for application and meeting accountability
                   requirements

Several suggestions pertaining to accountability measures were made by consultation
participants. One suggestion was to focus the application process to build in the accountability
piece from the beginning by requiring that application information be provided in this way:
“For ___$ per day/week/month/year, ___(number) children/women/men can receive ___ (the
service provided i.e. counselling, group support, life skill training, etc.).

Another suggestion made was to provide long-term funding for proven programs with the
understanding that it will be discontinued after a set number of years. The mandate for
agencies receiving this kind of funding is that they work to become self-sustaining during that
time. It would be necessary to build in a consistent monitoring system to ensure that, in fact,
the programs/activities being funded are making a difference year over year. This kind of
funding will result in the generation of longitudinal data which will be an excellent source of
information and strategy for the development of other programs/services.

Evaluation techniques are often not well understood and agencies may not have the knowledge
or skill to effectively meet accountability requirements. Measurement of success is critical both
for service providers and for the United Way. If baseline and subsequent data are not available,
how is it possible to know whether the work done is making a difference? How is it possible to
know whether the United Way dollars are having maximum impact?

This is an extremely important aspect of the funding process which is easy to overlook in the
general ‘busy-ness’ of day-to-day work; however, it is extremely important and deserves review
and support. It may be possible to obtain training and support in this area from the North
Island College or from another organization or the private sector. There is a role for the Action
Council to play in this regard.
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       Recommendation Six

       That the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island give
       consideration to how it can heighten its profile in the Comox Valley and
       inform the public about the valuable work it does.

Discussion

The United Way should not assume that the general public understands it. It became quite
clear during the consultation process that, while people recognize the logo, their knowledge
about the work of the United Way is often sketchy or misinformed. A number of participants at
the meetings expressed surprise at their own lack of knowledge when asked what they know
about the United Way. Heightened public understanding about the work done by the United
Way could result in improved fundraising efforts. This is an area that would benefit from
attention.

Conclusion

Participants in the Comox Valley consultation process were astute and involved in the process.
They are clearly proud of and passionate about their community. Those who participated in the
community meeting indicated an appreciation of the opportunity to share ideas and thoughts.
In fact, they asked for the email distribution list of people present at the meeting so that they
could continue the conversations. A high degree of interest in how their input would be used
was evident and they requested that they receive the executive summary of the final report on
this consultation.

Linda Dier
LDG Consulting Group
ldgconsulting@shaw.ca
250 729 8676




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Appendix One: Committee Membership

UWCNVI Community Investment Committee

Chris Dragseth, Chair
Jon Ambler
Christopher Briggs
Don Bonner
Stephanie Dancevic
Sharon Erickson
Jean Ennis
Anne Williams
Neil Volk
Lynne Brown, UWCNVI Chief Operating Officer
Brad Bayly, Community Development Coordinator




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Appendix Two: Consultation Participants

Community Consultation, September 16, 2009

Lorraine Aitken, Executive Director, Comox Valley Child Development Association
Daina Basso, RCMP
Ted Brooks, Comox Valley Commission to End Homelessness (CVCEH) and AHERO
Rick Brown, Prevention and Loss Management Services
Diane Collins, Chair, Dawn to Dawn
Anne Davis, Comox Valley Transition Society
Martin Davis, Sonshine Lunch Club
Wendy Davis, Board member, Crossroads Crisis Centre
Joseph Dunn, Success by Six, Early Years Interagency Council (EYIAC)
Kassandra Dycke, Advocacy and Special Projects Coordinator, Women’s Resource Centre
Marnie Egford, Wachiay Friendship Centre
John Fitzgerald, Manager, Comox Valley Outreach Program
Linda Gavigan, Senior Peer Counselling
Councillor Ken Grant, Town of Comox
Marty Grundy, President, Alano Club
David Hext, Child and Adolescent Outreach and Suicide Prevention, St. Joseph’s Hospital
Tracy Horvaten, Administrator, Hornby and Denman Community Health Society
Cathy Hubberstey, Supervisor, Ministry of Housing and Social Development (MHSD)
Jane Hughes, Healthy Families Program Manager, Comox Valley Family Services Association
Linda Janssen, Comox Valley Forces Base
Joy Johnston, Canadian Mental Health Association
Bruce Joliffe, Board member, Comox Valley Regional District (Area A)
Betty-Anne Juba, Comox Valley Affordable Housing, LUSH Valley Food Action Society
Wendy Lewis, President, Strathcona Sunrise Rotary
Terri Loudon, Comox Valley Council for Aboriginal Early Childhood Development
Tom Morgan, Sonshine Lunch Club
Vicki Miller, Manager, John Howard Society
Bruce Muir, Social Worker, Strathcona Counselling
Liz Naish, Options for Sexual Health, Comox Valley United Church Outreach
Charlotte Raye, Comox Valley Food Bank
Garry Richardson, Senior Peer Counselling
Ann Roberts, Social Worker, St. Joseph’s Hospital
Joanne Petersen, Program Manager, CV Boys and Girls club
Bunny Shannon, Comox Valley Social Planning Council
David Somers, Psychiatric Outpatient Service and Adolescent Day Therapy Program, St. Joseph’s Hospital
Mike Spooner, Comox Military Family Resource Centre
Sarah Sullivan, Health Educator and Counsellor, AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI)
Maureen Swift, Comox Valley Hospice Society
Cindy Toovey, Manager, Alano Club
Eddy Veloso, Canadian Mental Health Association

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Nathan Worthington, Comox Valley Record
Shawn Wilson, Salvation Army, Comox Valley Community Foundation, Crossroads Crisis Centre
Mary Young, Wachiay Friendship Centre

Agency Consultation – August, 2009

Julie Le Goff – Pregnancy Centre
Clair Orr, Stroke Recovery Group
Judy Spencer, Multiple Sclerosis Society
Jim Brass, Marine Rescue
Murray Coulter, Stepping Stones
Cathy Stotts, Crossroads Crisis Centre
Betty-Anne Juba, LUSH Valley Food Action Society
Chantele McPhee, St. John’s Ambulance
Carmen Christensen, Red Cross
Liz Naish, Options for Sexual Health
Cindy Toovey, Alano Club
Heather Ney, Comox Valley Transition Society
Linda Gavigan, Senior Peer Counselling
Suan Bunn, Beaufort Association for the Mentally Handicapped
Sarah Sullivan, AIDS Vancouver Island
Chris Bate, Eureka Club House




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Appendix Three: Community Feedback Regarding the Work of the United Way

During the community consultation meetings, the following question was posed: What can the United Way do to
provide the funding and leadership that will help to meet its commitments?”

What follows is a collation of the raw data from this discussion. Responses are presented in six categories. Note:
asterisks following various statements indicate the frequency of same or similar points.

Communication/Trust

       Do not base decisions on past issues. Be open to and aware of the now and future requirements
       Take care that the agenda of the awarding committee does not automatically disqualify organisations
       Build trust – how did they decide that previous outcomes were ineffective?
       Communicate very well with all agencies
       Involve widely knowledgeable (not agenda-driven) directors on the UW Board
        * UW Board and staff act as role models in the community
        * cooperate well at all levels
       Leadership must be open-minded and remember every community and its organizations have different
        needs. Listen very well to needs expressed by each agency in each community **
       “Accountability up and down”- those who make the decisions should live in the community and facilitate
        community partner meetings on a regular basis.
       Local representation is important

Leadership

       Encourage coalitions among similar groups
        * recognize the importance of service integration.
        * UW take a leadership role ensuring service providers network and work together *
        * encourage cooperative consultation – prevent competition if possible
       Capacity building
        * assist local organizations with board development
        * act as a catalyst to group development
        * support local agencies with training, resource services, opportunities to meet/network
        * help agencies to secure other, non-UW ongoing major funding
       Network with community organizations, businesses, service clubs, etc.
       Coordinate/facilitate
        * be the coordinator/facilitator for change – a service for all organizations in the community
        * coordinate multi-service fundraising efforts
        * develop integrated community resource centre *
        * create a network of committed professional volunteers that can work with service providers to
           meet the ever-growing needs of people in our community
        * educate the community about honouring diversity
        * engage communities/governments to solve/address social/environmental issues that lead
          to needs or gaps
        * focus public attention on key community concerns – take leadership in funding/lobbying

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        * set up a community group to spearhead action on homelessness, get political action going
        * lobby for increased minimum wage and income assistance

Working for Maximum Impact
    Take a managerial stance with agencies (may not be popular but is needed)
       * merge like-minded organizations – look for synergies
       * build efficiencies (share overhead and costs)
       * work with NPO managers to narrow their focus and target their efforts (currently trying to
         do too much with the result that efforts are diluted)
                  - need to drop “apple pie and motherhood” statements about intentions and get
                   specific about articulating deliverables/outcomes and strategies for achieving
                   them. Need to identify how progress will be delivered and the fall-back position if
                   initial plans are not successful.
       * conditions for funding to include streamlining of services, efficiencies of spending, and
         clearly articulated accountability processes
    Conduct a duplication review to determine service overlaps and gaps ***
       * recognize the importance of community-based service provision. Access to services can
         depend on relationship building recognize the diversity of all the organizations in the
         community and the various needs that they represent *
        *recognize that some parts of the CV are rural and quite isolated. This has an impact on
         service provision and should be considered
    Communicate where there are service gaps/needs so that agencies can look for solutions
    Fund only projects that are realistic and deliverable and that demonstrate community collaboration and
       mutual support (i.e. EYIAC)**
    Encourage partnerships – shared allocations are one way to do that
       * don’t separately fund agencies that are doing the same job
       * like-minded organizations should merge if possible
       * CV is currently divided around the issue of homelessness. Since the Mayor’s task force,
         groups have split off to try to address the issue (i.e. AHERO, Salvation Army, Regional
         District, Dawn to Dawn). Each one seems to have its own philosophy and ideology – there
         are differences. It has become political and competitive. A coordinated effort is needed
         to consolidate and streamline the services. United Way’s best contribution would be to
         facilitate communication and provide leadership for bringing people together to plan
         jointly and deliver coordinated services. A spirit of cooperation between agencies and
         organizations is needed.
    Involve the community in identifying needs (i.e. agencies, elders, service users)**********
       * give community representatives the responsibility of determining top priorities and how
         money will be distributed *
       * dedicate some money to hire knowledgeable people to do the research and prioritizing
    Involve community service providers in assessing applications for funding
    Identify initiatives that are already in place that address community needs and build upon them – no need to
       reinvent the wheel




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Funding Guidelines
    Funding should correspond with the UW mission statement *
    Funding should be directed toward agencies that further the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    Communicate clearly about funding process
        * what are criteria? *
        * when are applications received?
        * how will agencies be evaluated? Preferably by way of a longitudinal study * *
        * be clear, concise, simple when processing and evaluating funding proposals and grants –
          cut the red tape
        * clear guidelines for application and evaluation - should provide information about
          the impact the money will have. (i.e. For $___per day/week/month/year, ____(number)
          children/women/men can receive ____(the service provided by the agency i.e.
          counselling, group support, food, clothing, detox, etc.)
    Focus on prevention *****
        * “Prevention is more cost effective than correction” * * *
        * create opportunities the divert people from risky activities/behaviours, focus on physical
          activity and positive lifestyle choices **
        * engage youth at a young age to prevent feelings of isolation and so-called “victimless
          crimes” such as vandalism and theft*
        *CV is a have/have not community. This affects options available to families and kids – the
          needs to be bridged so that services are accessible to all
    Focus on capacity building ****
        * give a hand up as opposed to a hand out, help people learn to empower themselves,
          dignity **
        * fund programs to improve life skills and self-sufficiency **
        * fund activities that build empowerment for those who have difficulty helping themselves
          and often have no voice in their community*
        * raise level of competence within families through community connectedness, support and
          education ***
    Support both large and small efforts
        * small agencies are reliant on funding *
        * don’t forget about new agencies
        * don’t fund agencies already receiving government funding * *
        * thoroughly investigate organizations that apply for funds
        * look for agencies with proven track records and accountability ****
        * acknowledge current agency/program successes
        * respond to changing needs
        * sustainability over the long term is important – don’t fund temporary needs
    Provide core funding – not just project-based funding
        * some funding should go toward keeping doors open and lights on
    Provide multi-year funding for proven programs for set periods with the understanding that it will not extend
        beyond that time – incentive for agencies to focus on sustainability during the time that the funding is
        available **



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       Keep some money in reserve so as to be able to support agencies throughout the year as emergencies or
        needs arise
       Target Groups (communities with unique needs within the broader community)
        * funding should benefit the most needy – prioritize by basic needs –
          food/health/education *
        * pick a theme or group each year and provide enough funding to make an impact
        * most vulnerable citizens – people in dire to bad social situations * * * *
        * poverty is growing
                  - average household income in CV is 18% below the BC average and 22% below
                   Canadian average
                  - child poverty = 22%
                  - top 20% of families earn more than the entire bottom half of families
                  - poverty spreads from generation to generation
        * people who require life enhancing/saving or health related devices such as diabetes
          monitor or lifeline
        * children, youth and families/caregivers* * *
        * seniors ***
        * young adults between 19-25 who do not have family supports – out of foster system, few
          supports, welfare cut off, highly vulnerable population **
        * people who suffer from the “disease of loneliness” (those who are isolated or housebound
          because of disabilities – home care service not sufficient – calls, visits, etc. needed) *
        * detox support for women *
        * dental care for all
        * homeless
                  - drop in center, shelter, affordable housing ****
                  - be a link to people on the streets

Research
     Be guided by determinants of health
     Look to other communities for models – scan the environment
     Look at crime statistics – they will guide to target groups of people in need
     Mayor’s Task Force to End Homelessness
     CV Social Planning Report
     Community census outcomes
     Local Early Childhood Development research

Publicity
     Promote UW successes – tell about the impact of funding provided *
     Be visible – report back to the community about where money has gone and the impact of the work done
          with it. Advertise agencies to general public * *
     Volunteer recognition




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Appendix Four: Report of the Agency Consultation Sub-Committee

This appendix contains the report of the Agency Consultation Sub-Committee which met during August, 2009 with
Comox Valley agencies affiliated with the United Way.

The questions were the same as those asked in Central Island: what are the needs, what are the gaps and what role do
you see for the United Way. The number of exclamation marks behind a line indicates repetition of the issue.

NEEDS
     Support for unstable families – young single parents, drug & alcohol abuse by kids, poor or
      no parenting models!
     Womens’ detox and sober living beds!!
     Children go to school hungry (no breakfast)
     Support for teen cut off welfare at 18 – no supports available\accessibility to wheelchair
      transportation and taxis, medical equipment, lots of gov’t red tape, access to travel to
      Vancouver/Victoria for medical appointments
     Affordable and accessible housing, Homelessness!!!!
     Poverty
     Hard for rural residents to access town services, transportation!
     Seniors struggle to stay in homes
     More services for seniors!
     activities to keep youth off street
     Addiction services for youth
     Funding
     Volunteers!
     Debriefing of crisis calls and incidents
     Secure sources of funding – year round cash flow not just project funds!!!
     Fresh food & vegetables especially for low income people
     Educate people on nutrition, gardening, preserving food
     Safe dry space for sober and homeless
     Working poor falling between the cracks
     Second stage housing
     Mental health and addictions!
     Detox-immediate response to need
     Violence/abuse prevention education in schools – bullying
     Homeless youth
     Assure basics of human existence before frills

GAPS
       Huge – recovery & detox for women!!
       Medical detox
       Welcoming community-accepting of diversity
       funding
        services on Denman & Hornby
       Transportation to & from Exhibition Grounds
       Housekeeping for seniors
       Grants for seniors
       Housing!!!!
       Voluntary preventative counselling for abusers
       Education for girls ( on violence)

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      Support for grandparents raising grandchildren
      Integrated land use planning
      Respect & appreciation for volunteers
      Teaching volunteers good self care
      Government red tape
      Beds for women
      Support groups for parents with kids who have problems (drugs/alcohol)
      Speech pathologist for stroke victims
      medical equipment if not on a “plan”
      Repair of medical equipment not readily available
      Legal services for poverty and family issues
      Medical specialists
      Community foundation only funds groups every 2 years
      Clean & sober living spaces
      Services for youth
      No large facility for shelter – multi use building
      No information network for agencies

ROLE OF UNITED WAY

      Money!!!!
      Help Celebrate our community groups with public recognition
      Agency meetings – promote communication, connections!!!
      safe & supportive family homes with beds available for pregnant women
      continued support
      Partner with service clubs community foundation!
      consult with First nations
      Make good use of good name!!!
      Be part of the face of CV, increase visibility!!
      pickup pieces that fall through cracks
      Help pressure action from the government to address problems
      Get rid of strings on funding e.g. operational not project funding!!!!!!!
      Local focus
      Thermometer – visibility
      Discourage competition for funding
      Coordinated linkage of services
      Consistent source of funding
      Profile agencies more in the community
      Volunteer recognition
      Eliminate fundraising needs for Valley organizations
      Co-ordinate multi-service fundraising efforts
      Act as a Resource service for all agencies to draw upon for information
      Support agencies when appealing funding cuts
      Create a support network for CV agencies- offer fundraising supports, enhance coordination
       of efforts




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Appendix Five: Characteristics of Strong, Healthy Communities
This appendix contains the transcription of discussions about the characteristics of communities that are strong and
healthy. Note: asterisks following various statements indicate the frequency of same or similar points.

       Safe****
       Encompasses all income levels – working poor**
       Racial and religious tolerance*
       Acceptance and celebration of diversity (not just tolerance), inclusive********
       Affordable food
       Services availability****
       No homeless – options for homeless – social housing*
       Affordable accommodation
       Living wage
       Cooperation and collaboration among service providers***
       Joyous celebration
       Use local expertise
       Sexual equality
       Integrating all aspect of the community eg: business, governments, social services, religious, education,
        partnerships**
       Take note of communities within communities
       Healthy lifestyle – recreation access, sports and culture programs available*
       Transportation improvement*
       Age equality opportunities, respect for all ages**
       Affordable, accessible childcare
       Centralized and holistic help in neighbourhoods
       Strong
       Healthy
       Responsible
       Connected
       Caring**
       Basic needs met
       Accessibility for disabled*
       Acceptance and celebration of youth and seniors – all ages***
       Economic opportunity**
       Opportunities for social interaction
       A welcoming community*
       Addresses and solves issues, responsive
       Hope**
       Activism
       Senior support services
       Clean everything – air, water, etc.
       Everyone taking responsibility for most vulnerable***
       Local self sufficiency (100 miles food)
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   Amalgamation
   Regional planning
   Capacity building – ability to get things done
   Accessibility to other communities
   Industry – clean
   Balancing rights with responsibilities
   Responsive, responsible government and engaged citizenry***
   Good leadership
   Educated and understanding community*
   Innovative, resourceful, resilient, adaptable*




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Appendix Six: Community Understanding of the United Way
This appendix is the transcription of the discussion held at the beginning of the community consultation meeting in
answer to the question, “What do we know about the United Way?” The asterisks indicate frequency of response.

       large umbrella, local fundraising, local funds stay local*****
       partnership with local credit unions, Success by 6 across BC – possibly Canada **
       take payment by cash, cheque or credit card
       used to be a local office – now in Nanaimo – have local contacts
       local community groups request fund, reviewed by UW Board*
       secular
       education component (ex: via payroll, know who received $, deduction program)
       focus changing – identify needs in community to fund more effectively
       each community has different needs, characteristics, gaps
       don’t know much
       good group to turn to – a good community organization*
       fall fundraising campaign with breakfast kick-off - with a target goal***
       joins with other groups to provide a funding envelope
       in larger communities, has resource person who can provide training
       has been around for many years
       community minded – help people of all ages, large cross section of beneficiaries*
       regular monthly updates
       we know that we don’t know the criteria for eligibility for funding
       paid salary for senior counsellor
       largest fundraiser in CV – supports about 25 groups




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