United Ways in Uganda and Ghana Receive Major Gift

Posted by Mariana Florit

Larry and Gloria Macdonald, long-time supporters of United Way in Calgary and across the world, have provided a three year grant of USD$150,000 to support the work of United Way Ghana and United Way Uganda.

“A portion of this donation will enable 500 families, with an average of five people per house hold, to gain access to safe water and disease prevention. The entire community benefits when people live healthier lives. I appreciate the difference the Macdonalds have made in the lives of people enduring water scarcity in Kamira, Luweero district in Uganda. Frankly, we could not do what we do without donors such as Larry and Gloria. We, and those we serve, deeply appreciate their generosity,” said Monica Mukisa, Program Officer for United Way Uganda.

Their generous gift will be used to provide clean water to a rural community in Uganda and to support the education of girls in a rural Muslim community in Northern Ghana.

“The impact of Larry and Gloria Macdonald’s generosity is measured by the lives that are changed forever. Children in six communities not supportive of education programs, especially among female children, now have a bright future full of promise,” said Jonathan Akuamoah, Executive Director for United Way Ghana.

History with United Way

Larry Macdonald got involved with United Way in Calgary in 1988 when he was asked by a member of the United Way campaign cabinet to make donor calls to energy companies. He continued to volunteer in different capacities, eventually becoming a board chair in 1999.

As chair of the campaign, he encouraged his peers to make philanthropic gifts that reflected their financial capacity. That year, Larry and Gloria made a $25,000 contribution to the campaign, the largest gift ever received from an individual. Their leadership resulted in the formation of the major donor program at United Way of Calgary and Area.

In 2006, Larry became a member of the United Way International board (which together with United Way of America, formed United Way Worldwide in 2008), serving through 2009. During his tenure he traveled internationally to engage potential supporters and to exchange ideas with local United Way volunteers.

Interest in Africa

Larry and Gloria have made an ongoing commitment to volunteer and support philanthropic causes in Calgary. Their interest in the African region developed when Gloria served as the official host of the International Olympic Committee delegates from Kenya during the 1988 Calgary Olympics. This relationship led to a deep interest in the region, leading the family to visit Kenya and Tanzania in 1993.

After meeting Mama Angelina, Ugandan Ambassador to Kenya, and Vice Chair of the Board of United Way Uganda during a regional meeting, Larry was inspired to increase his support for African causes though United Way.

“Larry and Gloria have been consistent and steadfast supporters of the United Way movement on the African continent. Larry was instrumental in the gift from Newmont that helped support the implementation of Work Place Giving in Ghana and they both have been great supporters of the work in Uganda,” said Janet Butler, Vice President, Africa Region for United Way Worldwide.

United Way Canada-Centraide Across Borders

Larry has also served on the board of the United Way of Canada-Centraide. In that capacity he founded and funded the creation of United Way Canada Across Borders. The program, a collaboration between the United Way Worldwide International Donor Advised Giving (IDAG) program and United Way Canada-Centraide, allows Canadian donors to support United Ways in developing countries with financial gifts and to receive a tax deduction for the gift. IDAG serves as the intermediary between United Way in Canada, and United Way Uganda and United Way Ghana to ensure the delivery of high quality programs. IDAG is a critical asset to United Way Canada Across Borders, given the long-term expertise of staff working with developing countries.