Hazel Braithwaite, winner of the Black Press Community Initiative Award. (Black Press Media file photo)

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The excitement in Hazel Braithwaite’s voice when she speaks about her work with United Way Greater Victoria is infectious.

Braithwaite, winner of the Black Press Community Initiative Award, can’t believe that day after day, she has the opportunity to be involved with an organization such as United Way that supports roughly 100 local organizations.

“I almost have to pinch myself everyday in that I get to do a job that helps the community and it just warms my heart. I sit there and go ‘wow, I helped to do that’,” said Braithwaite, who has worked with United Way in various capacities since 2006.

As the current director, donor and partner relations with United Way Greater Victoria, Braithwaite oversees the workplace campaign, which brings more than 200 employee teams from Sooke to Sidney and the Gulf Islands, closer together with fun and meaningful events, creative team-building and leadership development, among other things.

United Way and its campaigns have made a difference in people’s lives.

Braithwaite has had many conversations with countless people around Greater Victoria who have benefited from the network of services that United Way funds, such as the Therapeutic Riding Association and the Boys and Girls Club.

“Walking down the street, I would run into someone who inevitably had been helped by that network of services that United Way helped fund,” said Braithwaite, adding she worked with someone whose child had autism and went to the Therapeutic Riding Association.

“When you’re funding over 100 organizations within the community, it’s not hard to find someone who has utilized one of those organizations … all of the money that was raised here. Stayed here. That makes a huge difference in our community.”



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