Our History

The United Way of Bruce Grey was founded in Dundalk Ontario in July of 1998.  It was founded by Betty Attridge who served as the first Executive Director, and Suzanne Muri who served as the Office Manager.  A founding grant was received by the United Way from CIBC.  The United Way was mentored by the United Way of Kitchener Waterloo under the leadership of John Thompson.

The United Way moved to Owen Sound to be centralized with its member agencies in 2002.  In 2006 the United Way purchased 380 9th Street East, the former Grey County Day Care building.

Current Executive Director Francesca Dobbyn succeeded Betty’s retirement in 2004 and is only the second Executive Director for the United Way. Francesca celebrated her 10-year anniversary with the United Way in December of 2014 with a soup dinner fundraiser that raised $3000 for the Utility Program.

United Way Bruce Grey Head Office

Exterior of building 015

In 2006 the United Way purchased 380 9th Street East from Grey County, for one dollar!

Originally built as a church in 1956 the building had served as the Grey County Childcare Centre from 1972 until it closed in 2004.

In the fall of 2006, the Metis Nation of Ontario Wellness Program moved into the basement of the building.  The Metis have since expanded their programming in the area due to the availability of space in their centre.  There are now employment programs, housing programs as well as community outreach and engagement programs.
In March 2023, the Metis Nation of Ontario moved out of our building. Their new address is 1198 2nd Avenue East, Owen Sound.
IMG_00000777 web

The Gardens

East Garden

The Metis also are the stewards of the East Garden.  There are 2 distinct gardens.  There is a traditional herbal medicine garden that highlights historic and traditional Metis plants such as sage, clover, cedar, etc.

The second garden is a Community Garden format providing vegetable gardening opportunities to people in the neighbourhood.

West Garden

A pilot project of the Canadian Mental Health Association, the west gardens began in the ground, and after 2 years, funders came knocking wanting to support the project. White cedar boxes were then built to reduce the physical demands upon the gardeners.  Due to the success of the program, additional boxes were located at St George’s Park.

The CMHA hires 10 people to work a few hours a week in the various gardens and in the snack gardens along the east harbour wall. The produce goes to the CMHA’s drop-in centre’s Brunch Program, which is run every morning from Monday to Friday. Nothing is wasted. There are three freezers and extra produce gets made into salsa and sauces, or kitchen and garden workers take home anything that’s left.

Have you ever taken a closer look at the United Way logo? It’s more than just an image – it’s a powerful representation of the organization’s values and mission. Designed back in 1972 by the renowned American graphic designer Saul Bass, the Helping Hand logo has remained an enduring symbol to this day.
Breaking it down, there are three distinct components to the logo: the vibrant rainbow, the hand, and the human figure. Each of these elements conveys a deeper meaning that aligns with the United Way’s goal of making a positive impact in communities worldwide.

Firstly, let’s talk about the rainbow. This colorful arch is a universal symbol of hope, signifying the promise of brighter days to come. United Way recognizes the importance of hope in its mission to improve lives and build stronger communities.

Next, we have the hand. This hand isn’t just any ordinary hand – it’s a cradling hand, one that offers support and comfort to those in need. Just as the hand in the logo extends help to people, United Way extends its services to individuals and communities facing challenges.

Lastly, we have the human figure. This figure depicts diversity and inclusivity, representing all people regardless of race, gender, or background. United Way is dedicated to serving all members of society, and the human figure in the logo communicates this commitment.

While the core elements of the United Way logo have remained the same over the past 50 years, minor changes have been made to keep it up-to-date. These changes have ensured that the Helping Hand logo continues to inspire people around the world to join forces and create a better future for all.