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United Way’s Campaign is #UNIGNORABLE

By Jessica Sanderson

In September, United Way Alberta Northwest (United Way) launched the national #UNIGNORABLE campaign in Grande Prairie. 

The first goal of the campaign is to stop people in their tracks and make them take notice of the issues the campaign highlights. They aim to raise awareness by having the #UNIGNORABLE orange displayed across the City along with the powerful artwork by Malika Favre.

“It’s very in your face. It’s very fluorescent. The imagery itself, the stories behind it are real people,” said Jamie Craig, executive director of United Way Alberta Northwest.

Workplaces around the city are doing kick-offs and events, displaying #UNIGNORABLE posters and colours, and spreading the word. The Red Menu event has just wrapped up but there is much more to come!

“The campaign itself, it’s not us, it’s our workplaces. Our workplaces are the big push,” said Craig.




The campaign itself, it’s not us, it’s our workplaces. Our workplaces are the big push.

The second goal is to break the stigma around the eight #UNIGNORABLE issues of the campaign. These issues were selected because they are problems we face locally in Grande Prairie and the region and they fit the three pillars of United Way.

United Way’s three pillars are 

  1. Education and Successful Kids
  2. Poverty Reduction: Helping people go from poverty to possibility
  3. Healthy People and Strong Communities

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Hunger

This year United Way is focusing more on the issue of hunger. 

United Way does their part to fund many breakfast and snack programs in Grande Prairie through the Grande Prairie Public and Catholic School Districts. Recently, they have also added Penson, a Peace Wapiti School in Grovedale. However, Craig said, “We can’t do it ourselves. We just can’t raise enough money.”

Help Make Hunger #UNIGNORABLE

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Mental Health

Metal health falls under the healthy people and strong community pillar. It’s about aligning mental health issues with the issues that fall within that pillar because they’re all interconnected.

Help Make Mental Health #UNIGNORABLE

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Poverty

Poverty can often go unseen and unnoticed. “These aren’t people that you see that are chronically homeless,” said Craig. “These are people who are single parent families, families that have lower income jobs, immigrants, or people who have mental illness.”

imageDESIGN just developed for United Way, a website that gives people an idea of what it’s like to live below the poverty line. The site is an interactive experience that challenges you to make tough budgeting choices in an effort to make it to the end of the month without running out of money.

“I really would like people to try to go on the poverty simulator and see,” said Craig. “The price of anything you see on there is in line with our numbers and the stats.”



Help Make Poverty #UNIGNORABLE

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Education

Grande Prairie’s education issue is education inequality, particularly in the provincial level of post secondary schooling and student debt.

Help Make Education #UNIGNORABLE

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Homelessness

The #UNIGNORABLE campaign aims to raise awareness and break the stigma around homelessness. “We really want people to understand what poverty looks like, what homelessness looks like, through more of a compassionate lens,” said Craig.

“A lot of people don’t realize that this is what crisis looks like,” said Craig. “United Way works with other organizations to help assist with this crisis, but we’re not a social agency. We can’t solve the problem but we can definitely help fund people who can.”

Help Make Homelessness #UNIGNORABLE

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Unemployment

In our region the focus is on youth unemployment. For the ages of 15-24 the unemployment rate is at 11.5%. The lack of early support systems and education inequality, mean more young adults struggle to connect and find jobs.

Help Make Unemployment #UNIGNORABLE

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Social Isolation

The social isolation issue in Grande Prairie focuses on seniors. It is important that they keep their dignity and their ability to stay in their own homes. That is why it’s important that they have the programs and support they need.

One thing United Way does is fully fund the Seniors Outreach Meals on Wheels program. 

#UNIGNORABLE Issue: Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a huge issue in Alberta, which is one of the three highest self reported spousal and family abuse provinces in Canada. 

In November, United Way is launching their #UNIGNORABLE domestic violence issue. November is Family Violence Prevention month across Alberta. Rentco will be joining in to raise awareness by putting the image for this #UNIGNORABLE issue up on their building.

Help Make Social Isolation #UNIGNORABLE

Help Make Domestic Violence #UNIGNORABLE

Although United Way Alberta Northwest is part of a larger organization, they are a unique entity that focuses on helping our community. United Way supports programs in approximately 19% of the province. They fund 28 agencies and 30 programs, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, Spinal Cord Injury, MS Society, Parkinson Alberta, Camp Heal-A-Heart and many others.

The financial goal of the campaign for 2019 is to impact 30,000 lives in Northwest Alberta. There are many ways to help the #UNIGNORABLE campaign and United Way reach this goal.

As a business you can help by spreading the #UNIGNORABLE issues and raising awareness. Choose an #UNIGNORABLE issue and put a poster, decal, or banner on display. Businesses can also hold special events to bring awareness and raise money for United Way.

As individuals, you can help spread the word or volunteer. You can also attend United Way events and support the participating workplaces. 

“Any foot soldiers we can get out there helping to spread the word, helping us get that orange colour out there is always something we’re looking for,” said Craig.

Of course you can also always donate directly at

“I think we just need to remind people that you don’t need to give $100 a paycheck,” said Craig. “We have some people who give $2 a paycheck.”

You can follow United Way’s #UNIGNORABLE campaign and upcoming events at or 





Any foot soldiers we can get out there helping to spread the word, helping us get that orange colour out there is always something we’re looking for.




I think we just need to remind people that you don’t need to give $100 a paycheck. We have some people who give $2 a paycheck.

In support of United Way Alberta Northwest and the #UNIGNORABLE campaign, imageDESIGN painted our Halloween pumpkins again this year. The people voted and the winner was #3! Thank you to everyone who liked our pumpkins! As a result of your likes we donated $231 to United Way!

Contributor: Jessica Sanderson

Jessica Sanderson studied as an English major, minoring in Publishing, and graduated from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She has written for various publication, has been writing for years, and loves the written word.