It's been about six months since the United Way in Portage la Prairie has recommenced services under the umbrella of the Brandon office. The office now has a name change called United Way in Central Plains Region, and event coordinators Kathryn Dalton and Megan Romphf hit the ground running.

"We've done a lot of events. We've knocked on a lot of doors or been invited into a lot of different businesses and organizations, some that had previous relationships with United Way, and some are new," says Romphf. "We're very grateful and thankful for that. The community has really reached out to us and opened up their doors and arms to us again. So, it's been nice."

Some programs that things Brandon has done were used here as a result of the new arrangement, and vice versa. Romphf says it's great for bouncing ideas off the folks in Brandon, and learn what's working there that might work wonderfully here. 

Dalton says many of the efforts they're currently engaged in are only able to work successfully because of time that's been freed up from administrative work, with Brandon having taken on that responsibility. It means more outreach time can be used, basically growing their capacity of effort. 

Romphf adds a complete advisory board is on hand that liaises with the board for United Way Brandon and District, and they also have a chair for the committee and council. Local stakeholders can, therefore, make many decisions for their work here.

"There was a little bit of hesitation when United Way Brandon and District came in and said that they're growing their capacity to include the Central Plains Region. I think we just need to spend some time explaining what that means. Ultimately, they're handling more of our administration, so that our time is freed up to be in the community. Now that we've been in the roles for six months or so, people have seen us out in the community, and they've seen the types of things that we're able to do. There's been a lot more appreciation for that, and a lot more understanding."   

She notes there may still be some concerns, but she and Megan have been working hard to ensure people know that funds raised here will stay here. The events and programming prove that point. At their Touchdown event coming up on April 4, they will tangibly show supporters where their money went.

She notes that beneath the Brandon office, the only change they've seen is having most of the administrative pieces handled out of Brandon. 

"It frees us up to really spend our time locally working with businesses here at volunteering at different events put on by ourselves, as well as other community partners," continues Dalton. "We're really getting our hands dirty in this community, and all the funds raised here stay here, and we make sure of that when we go through the reporting piece, that every dollar is going back into the Central Plains."

Dalton says transparency has been key for them. It amounts only to a name change and administrative duties behind the scenes. The most important point for funding remains the same. 

The duo says they're working great together and their skill sets are complementary to one another, and they're enjoying it immensely.