EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Northwestern University 2006-07 United Way Campaign -- with a goal of $325,000 -- is under way. Last year's campaign set a new record with $299,835 in contributions and pledges, representing an 8.9 percent increase over the 2004-05 campaign.
Faculty and staff who return their donor forms before the end of this year will be eligible to win airlines tickets, gift certificates and other prizes worth hundreds of dollars. Schools and departments with the highest rates of participation will have the chance to win one of five cash prizes.
The United Way supports nearly 350 beneficiary agencies and thousands of individuals in need, and donations from Northwestern faculty and staff are significant.
Donor forms were first distributed to staff and faculty in August, with a second mailing in early October. Contributions can be made by payroll deduction, personal check or credit card. Contributions of stock also are welcome. Consult a personal financial or tax advisor about the benefits of a gift of securities.
An option this year allows University contributors to “write in” donations to more than one million charities of their choice that are not United Way beneficiary agencies that are IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations listed at <www.guidestar.org>.
“Write in” donations are restricted to a minimum of $5 per month or $50 in lump sum if made through payroll deductions or personal credit card. There is no minimum “write-in” donation if a check is made payable to the specific charity. United Way will forward the check on the contributor's behalf. Like other charitable deductions, “write ins” will count as part of each department's participation rate and as part of the total record of the Northwestern United Way Campaign.
Donor forms that are returned by Dec. 31 -- with or without a contribution -- will be entered in a year-end raffle. Winners will be eligible for one of the following prizes: three $100 Best Buy gift cards; five $100 and one $50 Lettuce Entertain You gift certificates; a $100 gift certificate to Carson Pirie Scott & Co.; a $50 American Express gift cheque; one “Dinner for Two” certificate to Prairie Moon restaurant; one free membership to I-GO Car Sharing; a $25 gift certificate to Mt. Everest Restaurant; two $10 gift certificates to Le Peep restaurant; a $25 gift certificate to Tommy Nevin's Pub; a gift certificate for a Chef's Six-Course Dinner to Oceanique restaurant; a certificate for two admissions to The Second City improv and sketch comedy theatre; a gift certificate for “Drinks for Four” to Kafein coffeehouse; and one of 12 coupons for a free case of Pepsi. Other year-end raffle prizes include a sweatshirt, travel coffee mug, tote bag and a $15 Beck's Book Store gift certificate.
Prizes donated by various departments include one of two certificates for an American Airlines domestic ticket compliments of Northwestern University's Travel Services; one of five gift certificates for a pair of tickets to a Theatre and Interpretation Center mainstage production; a 3-month membership or a quarter group fitness combo pass good for 14 weeks to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion/Norris Aquatics Center; and one of 10 certificates for a pair of tickets to one of the last 2006/07 men's Wildcat basketball home games.
One of two Tommy Hilfiger purple polo shirts embroidered with the Northwestern Alumni Association logo; one of four Medill School of Journalism contribution prizes (a mug, short-sleeve T-shirt, laptop bag or sweatshirt); a mug or hat from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; one of two School of Continuing Studies combination prizes (pad folio, pen and notepad or a water bottle/coffee cup, mouse pad and keychain); and a Parker pen compliments of the Trademark Office, are also among the prizes.
Raffle winners will be responsible for paying any tax due on the value of the prize.
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; $500 for fourth; and $250 for most improved rate.
Staff and faculty members will also be able to bid on as many other items as they like at the Third Annual Silent Auction to benefit the United Way that will take place from Nov. 10 through Nov. 20. Details about this Web-based auction soon will be distributed to faculty and staff via e-mail.