United Way of Pictou County

Ellen Fanning, left, and David Fearon stand in front of the United Way of Pictou County office.

(Goodwin photo)

The United Way of Pictou County has assembled a campaign management team to help the agency launch its 2021 financial campaign.

David Fearon chairs the team that includes two couples in specific roles.

Graham and Carolyn MacNeil are co-chairing the Leaders of the Way that has been an established fundraising component for years, while Megan and Pat Connors are co-chairing the GenNext project that encourages more young people to join the campaign.

This year’s goal is $315,000. The campaign generally starts Sept. 1 and officially ends Dec. 15. The campaign’s launch is today, Sept. 8.

“How could I say no,” Fearon said upon being asked to chair the team. “I didn’t take it lightly. It’s a charity I’ve supported for years and I wanted to help. I think we have a really good team”

More young people involved in the United Way is a goal for Fearon and executive director Ellen Fanning. He paid tribute to volunteers who canvass during the campaign.

“It’s all about relationships,” he said. “One thing about Pictou County, it’s a giving community. “Last year was a tough year due to COVID – and we’re not out of it yet – but the United Way goes out of its way to support people.”

Fanning said it’s critical for the United Way to share the work of its member agencies so people learn how necessary the fundraising is. It supports 51 programs and services, while it has already committed to 32 agencies so far in 2022.

“What makes people understand are the stories,” she said.

Activities to promote the campaign include a swim across Pictou Harbour starting on Friday at noon. A few local swimmers are among the total of at least 16 swimmers committed to the event.

This year’s campaign goal is less than the official total of $327,655.93 raised in the 2020 campaign, which had no goal due to the effects of pandemic that limited in-person contact with prospective donors.

“A lot of those gifts were one-time gifts due to COVID relief that we wouldn’t be seeing this year,” Fanning said, while stressing the calibre of the campaign team members. “I’m confident in our team and I’m confident in Pictou County.”


Steve Goodwin is never without his camera and a notebook. He has been covering news and sports in Pictou County for more than four decades.