In May 1979, a meeting orchestrated by the Regional Municipality of Sudbury (Doug Frith and Sterling Campbell) was attended by 15 agencies, Janet Babcock presiding. It was resolved to form a steering committee to explore the need for a United Way/Centraide for Sudbury, with James Grey elected as chairman. In January 1980, seven meetings were held with various agencies to gather data for the Steering Committee and to introduce Bob Myers, Executive Director of the United Way of Canada. On April 1980, a meeting was held at St. Andrews Place with all major agencies to report on the findings of the Steering Committee and to elect an inaugural Board of Directors from the region, business and agencies.
The United Way/Centraide received its charitable registration number and began its first campaign in the Sudbury District in 1982. A pivotal relationship began with the United Steelworkers Local 6500 while Ron McDonald was President. He had learned of Sault Ste. Marie's successful partnership with United Way and brought a campaign proposal to Inco. Once agreed, it was decided to have a joint Inco/USW campaign led by company and USW co-chairs. Local 6500 then negotiated with United Way for a labour position to help United Way succeed.
Sudbury United Way had its first campaign with Inco/United Steelworkers in 1982 with much success. The campaign goal for that year was $700,000 with an actual collected amount of $317, 000. Although the organization only achieved approximately 40% of its goal, those involved realized that this was a significant amount considering it was their first campaign and that it was carried out under the very trying circumstances of the economic conditions that existed in Sudbury at that time. The Board unanimously decided to move on. Subsequently, Local 6500 encouraged Falconbridge Steelworkers' staff and had their first campaign with Sudbury United Way in 1983.
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