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Come on, get happy with United Way York Region Celebration fundraiser
Jan. 15, 2015
Chris Traber

United Way of York Region’s annual Celebration takes place Jan. 22 and if you hurry, you can be part of the highly anticipated fête recognizing those who make a difference for one of every three York residents.

This year’s theme is Happy Hour, enthused United Way CEO Daniele Zanotti, adding the tone isn’t about imbibing. Rather, the mood for the party was inspired by a 90-year old York Region widow.

The lady, victimized by last year’s ice storm, was aided by one of United Way’s 42 member agencies. After power was restored, the grateful woman contacted Zanotti.

“She called and said that we’re in the happy business,” he said. “That stuck. That’s at the core of what we all do. Despite ups and downs, in the end, we endeavour to get people to happiness.”

This year’s event will reflect its name, the agency’s leader promised.

Volunteers, corporate supporters and United Way staff will gather to extol and honour the generosity and hard work of community members throughout our nine municipalities.

Celebration will reveal updates in the agency’s In Every Neighbourhood campaign, an unprecedented three-year, $30-million fundraising campaign that aims to strengthen our neighbourhoods and provide social services for York Region residents where they need it most — close to home.

The event provides a platform for the highly popular 2014 Spirit Awards, which are handed out to highlight organizations and individuals who have made extraordinary contributions during their respective United Way campaigns. The 29 awards recognize excellence in community giving among the dedicated volunteers,  donors and labour and corporate supporters within York Region, Zanotti said. The awards also provide the opportunity to publicly thank and acknowledge the many individuals who demonstrate creativity, commitment and enthusiasm when it comes to their fundraising efforts.

“Celebration offers us a forum to show our appreciation to all of those who have supported United Way York Region throughout the year and have helped us to gain momentum in achieving our goals,” he said.

The generosity of sponsors help make the event a success, Zanotti acknowledged.

MMM Group Ltd. is the presenting sponsor. Acklands Grainger, AllState, IBM and StateFarm are gold sponsors. PowerStream is the entertainment sponsor and Metroland Media is the media sponsor.

“MMM has been a proud supporter of United Way York Region for many years,” company CEO and 2014 Campaign Cabinet chairperson  Hugo Blasutta said. “The partnership has given us an ideal, effective way to support the things we care about and to live our corporate purpose — to enrich the quality of people’s lives.”

The celebratory mood will undoubtedly be heightened by last week’s news that United Way Toronto and United Way York Region will more than likely join forces by mid-summer to create a social service powerhouse. The new entity will support some 250 GTA community agencies, delivering 900 programs and services to create opportunities for people in need.

This year’s Celebration is Jan. 22, from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. at Bellagio, 8540 Jane St., Vaughan.


You can purchase tickets at $55 each by visiting, filling out an online form and sending it back to Nicole Cleve via fax, 905-474-0051, or e-mail,