Entrepreneurial Spirit + Business Metrics Focus = Social Impact Success 

Alexya Heelis Shares the United Way’s Story 

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In This Episode

When you donate to a charity, do you ever want to know the impact that your donation makes? Alexya Heelis of the United Way Saint John, Kings & Charlotte joins us to share how they are trying to get people to think about their donations, the way they think about their financial investments. The United Way is working with local non-profits to encourage them to track more metrics, watch what’s moving the needle and taking an entrepreneurial style approach to new philanthropic ideas. 

Alexya shares success stories that highlight the value of the impact the United Way can have as an organization. A great episode that shows how your monetary donations can become a wave of social impact giving. 

Episode Breakdown

First 10 Minutes 
Dave and our guest host Jake Palmer talk about how to find the right charities that align with your values or needs of your community. Alexya Heelis introduces us to her background working through different organizations and non-profits on her career path. Alexya shares some of the ways that United Way is helping people tell their stories, for example, partnering for a songwriter’s event, Song’s of the City.

10 – 20 Minutes
Alexya shares how the United Way is not your grandmother’s United Way and how they work to make sure donations reach the right places. Alexya talks about how there has been a shift in the way that they share information to have an open and fair process of how they deliver funding. Alexya gives us some insight into how they review applications, how they stay agile in their business processes and how they are raising more money, but reducing their fundraising costs. 

20 – 30 Minutes
The group discusses ideas like the Million Dollar pledge where the United Way is acting more like a social enterprise to be able to make quick decisions and have diversity in their offerings that keeps them able to do more and work with more local businesses and organizations. Jake raises the point that the point of showing off the success and letting people know how their donations are making an impact seems to be vital in getting people more involved. Alexya says that they are trying to get people to think about their donations, the way they think about their investments. 

30 – 40 Minutes
The group discusses how important it is to continually evaluate programs and make sure what you are doing is moving the needle. The impact of collecting data, even if that challenges a non-profit to find ways to track their success, is allowing the United Way to see the outcomes of the funding they provide. The group discusses the current culture towards donations, volunteering, and how to be smart about your monetary donations.


Alexya Heelis

Alexya Heelis

Resource Development Manager

With over 20 years experience in the non-profit sector, Alexya remains passionate about building strong communities and helping non-profits to be robust, enduring and efficient. Her work  with United Way is an ideal vehicle to pursue these goals. 

Also, because she is a mother, Alexya seeks by example and concrete accomplishment, to demonstrate that it is possible to make a substantive, positive difference toward a more just and opportunity filled community.

About United Way Saint, Kings and Charlotte

The United Way serving Saint John, Kings, and Charlotte brings people and organizations together to build vibrant neighborhoods and strengthen our community. Our roles are multiple: we are a funder, partner, convener, and advocate.

There are over 80 United Ways in Canada, and we are each autonomous. However, we are all part of the same brand and work within the same framework: helping kids be all that they can be; moving people from poverty to possibility; and building strong communities. Each United Way has its own independent board of directors made up of local volunteers from diverse backgrounds who make the decisions on the directions for the United Way.