United Way of Jamaica Chairperson, Dr Marcia Forbes (right) and member of one of United Way of Jamaica’s leading Committees, Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), Sharon Lake (left) pose with emerging artist, Shana-Gail Young's 'Valentine, 2020' acrylic on canvas 23"x20" painting which will be auctioned on November 8 at The United Way of Jamaica charity art auction, 'State of the Art'. (Photo: Contributed)
Photo: Contributed

Charity Organisation, The United Way of Jamaica, will be hosting a live virtual art auction show on November 8, to raise money for its outreach programmes.

Since its inception in 1985, the non-profit group has raised more than $2 billion from donations and charity events such as its scheduled inaugural art auction, ‘State of the Art’, slated for November 8.

“COVID-19 has shown how important charity organisations such as The United Way of Jamaica are to the nation’s well-being. We are on the ground giving out care packages, providing funding, supporting the micro-businesses like the corner shops because we are our brothers’ keepers,” Chairperson of The United Way of Jamaica, Dr. Marcia Forbes, tells JIS News.

“The pandemic has affected the lives of citizens, especially the indigent. However, we need the support of citizens to keep us going, so we are inviting persons and corporate entities to preregister and support the charity auction on November 8,” she adds.

The United Way of Jamaica was established to fulfil the need for a sustained system for mobilising resources for the private voluntary sector. It is a franchise of The United Way Worldwide.

Dr. Forbes highlights that The United Way of Jamaica, in its 35 years of service to the nation, has never shied away from providing local and regional assistance in times of distress.

“We are known for being exceptionally strong during times of disaster in Jamaica. When the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) launched its COVID-19 response fund, The United Way of Jamaica was invited to serve as the fund managers for the over $200 million that was collected. The United Way also was able to donate $20 million to that effort,” she shares.

She explains that the pandemic has caused the non-profit group to expand its services and become even more innovative in how it executes its mission of mobilising resources to transform lives throughout Jamaica.

“The United Way of Jamaica recently contributed $2.5 million to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) through the Government’s ‘Telethon Jamaica: Together We Stand’ event held on Easter Sunday (April 12). The event was geared towards procuring personal protective equipment for front-line workers to fight COVID-19. We had to take the opportunity to support the brave men and women of the JCF, because they are our top donors through salary deduction and, as essential workers, they are highly exposed to the virus,” Dr. Forbes says.

Annually, the charity helps more than 300,000 persons through training for early-childhood educators, improving facilities at Early Childhood Institutions, and providing support/creating opportunities for the vulnerable and those with special needs.

The entity also renders assistance in relief and restoration efforts, especially to farmers in times of disaster; supports skills training and other community development programmes targeting at-risk youth as well as assisting agencies engaged in the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases.

Dr. Forbes says that the charity is preparing to increase this number, considering the devastating socio-economic impact of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still here so there is even more work to be done for the country. Through United Way Worldwide, which has been very supportive during this pandemic, international donors, such as Citi Bank and 3M, have been able to aid various relief programmes, including our Agro-Resilience Programmes,” she notes.

“This programme is a partnership with the Jamaica Agricultural Society, and through this project, over 100 small farmers have been given $30,000 each to buy seedlings, fertilisers and get training in food sustainability. Locally, Scotia Bank has also committed $6 million to the Agro-Resilience programme, and through 3M’s generosity, we have been able to go into schools with our sanitiser programme,” Dr. Forbes says.

She tells JIS News that they still need more assistance from citizens and entities to propel the organisation further with its mission. “This auction is one way we are engaging Jamaica to ask for their help,” Dr. Forbes says.

She notes that the works of several young emerging artists, like Faith Rowe and Danielle Powell are featured in the art auction and have donated pieces to the United Way of Jamaica (UWJ). Sasha Gail Young is different, however. To assist her toward her university education, all proceeds from her five pieces will be given to her as a way of helping her to get back on track at UWI as an aspiring civil engineer.

A picture of emerging talent and Immaculate Conception High School student, Faith Rowe’s ‘Poui Tree, 2020’ acrylic on canvas 12″x16.5″ painting which is being auctioned on November 8 at The United Way of Jamaica charity art auction, ‘State of the Art’. (Photo: Contributed)


A picture of upcoming artist and aspiring civil engineer, Shana-Gail Young’s ‘Koffee, 2020’ watercolour 7″x5″ painting which is being auctioned on November 8 at The United Way of Jamaica charity art auction, ‘State of the Art’. All monies raised from Ms Young’s pieces will be given to her to clear up her academic debt. This stance was taken by United Way of Jamaica after seeing the artist’s plea for academic financial aid on social media.(Photo: Contributed)


The United Way of Jamaica was formed out of an agreement among the Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Jamaica for a Voluntary Sector Development Grant, which resulted in the organisation being incorporated in January 1985 and being officially launched in November 1985.

Dr. Forbes says that persons interested in supporting the mission of the organisation by participating in the auction should preregister at https://www.unitedwayofjamaica.org/ or email info@unitedwayofjamaica.org or visit the United Way of Jamaica Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. The art catalogue can also be viewed on the charity’s website.

Some of the pieces being auctioned include works from Richard Hall, Sinclair Ceramics, Carvil Gunter, Mazola Mwashighadi, Ewan McAnuff, Hilroy Bulgin, Alexander Cooper and George Rodney.

The United Way of Jamaica is an autonomous non-profit private voluntary organisation registered as a Charitable Organisation under Section 2 and Section 17 of the Charities Act, and an affiliate of United Way Worldwide.

Skip to content