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United Way Campaign Underway

September 27, 2005 | by Judy Moore

The 2005-06 United Way Campaign is underway at Northwestern

Thanks to the generous donations of Northwestern faculty and staff members,

last year’s campaign set a record with $275,209 in contributions. Northwestern’s goal this year is to raise $300,000 in an attempt to increase Northwestern’s participation level equal to that of other Big Ten universities.

In addition to the nearly 350 beneficiary agencies and thousands of individuals in need the United Way currently supports, a special United Way Hurricane Fund has been established to provide emergency aid for the thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees from the Gulf Coast who are seeking shelter in the metropolitan Chicago area.

These evacuees -- perhaps as many as 10,000 -- need immediate housing, transportation, financial assistance and a range of other human services, which may last from 6 to 18 months.

For those who would like to contribute to the critical work that is underway for individuals and families in dire need who have recently arrived in the Chicago area, a special donor card that is accessible at <http://www.univsvcs.northwestern.edu/donorcard.pdf> can be printed, completed and returned with a check or credit card donation.

In addition to sending financial support to the United Way Hurricane Fund, volunteers are needed to help in activities such as greeting evacuees, determining needs, helping wheelchair-bound individuals, assisting children and entering data. To become part of this volunteer effort, contact the United Way Volunteer hotline at (312) 906-2402.

Donations during this great need will aid in shoring up the United Way’s metropolitan system of health and human services.

The hope is that those who choose to contribute to this emergency fund also continue to actively support the 2005 Northwestern United Way campaign. Ongoing support of the 2005 campaign is critical, not only for the thousands of evacuees, but also for others living in our community who need help.

The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago has strongly endorsed their partnership with United Way, Northwestern’s efforts in Hurricane Katrina relief, and the 2005 United Way Campaign. All donations given to the United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund will be used to fund services that address both short- and long-term needs of the individuals and families affected by this tragedy. United Way and its partners will cover all administrative costs, and efforts will be focused on mobilizing and funding services for evacuees.

The job of the Red Cross is to help stabilize the situation by getting emergency food and shelter to people in crisis. After the first 48 to 72 hours, the Red Cross looks to the United Way to coordinate longer term care such as transitional housing, financial support, access to healthcare and counseling, specialized services for the disabled, children, senior citizens and other at-risk populations. The single biggest non-government funding source of these services is through the ongoing support of the United Way annual campaign to help people rebuild their lives.

The generous donations of Northwestern faculty and staff members provided in the past have been significant.

Pledge/contribution cards were distributed to staff and faculty members in August, and a second mailing will be distributed in early October. Contributions can be made by payroll deduction, personal check or credit card. Stock donations are also welcome. Consult a personal financial or tax advisor about the benefits of a gift of securities.

The back of this year’s pledge card allows University contributors to “write in” charities that are not United Way beneficiary agencies. One may choose any of the nearly 1.5 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations found at www.guidestar.org. The only restriction is that such “write in” designations be a minimum of $5 per month or $50 in lump sum if done through payroll deductions. There is no minimum if a check is made payable to the specific charity. The United Way will forward the check on the contributor’s behalf. All of these “write in” charitable donations will be counted as part of your department’s participation rate and will be considered part of the total of the Northwestern University United Way Campaign.

Pledge cards that were returned by Aug. 31, with or without a contribution, are eligible for both early bird and year-end raffles.

Those who returned pledge cards by Aug. 31 received a coupon issued by the athletic department for a pair of tickets (valued at $60) to the Sept. 10 Wildcats vs. Northern Illinois Huskies football game at Ryan Field.

Pledge cards received by Dec. 31, with or without a contribution, will be entered in a year-end raffle. The array of prizes include a certificate for one round-trip ticket in the continental United States from Travel Services, a $100 gift certificate to Marshall Field compliments of Royal American Charter Lines, a three-month membership to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center, and a $50 gift certificate to Harry Caray’s restaurant courtesy of Pepsi.

Once again, the University will award cash prizes to schools and departments: $1,500 for the top participation rate; $1,000 for second place; $750 for third place; $500 for fourth place; and $250 for most improved participation rate.

The winning schools and/or departments will decide how to spend the prize.

Staff and faculty members may bids on items during the Third Annual Northwestern University Silent Auction to benefit the United Way that will take place in mid-November.

The United Way is a national non-profit organization that has a mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities in order to build a stronger America.

Topics: Campus Life