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United Way Contributions for 2011 Rise to $288,000

Hundreds of University staff, faculty and retirees donate and pledge

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February 14, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The generosity of Northwestern University staff and faculty and effective marketing strategies on the part of volunteer campaign managers resulted in contributions and pledges totaling $288,232 in the University’s 2011 United Way campaign. That is a 3.08 percent increase in total Northwestern pledges and contributions over the previous year’s total of $279,629.

The annual United Way crusade is an “open” campaign in which people can donate to a charity of their choice.

More than 750 Northwestern employees donated $256,826; Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation (NMFF) staff contributed or pledged $1,300; service faculty/emeritus faculty and local retirees contributed $14,080; and the web-based annual Silent Auction raised $16,027. 

Winners of November’s Silent Auction received overnight hotel stays, autographed memorabilia, tickets to Chicago Bears and Chicago Blackhawks sporting events, computers, parking passes and much more, all part of more than 100 prizes.

• The $1,500 Gold Medal winner of the participation rate contest went to the offices of (Controller I) Student Accounts and Loans, with a 95 percent participation rate. The group has won first prize in previous years.

Kay West, assistant director of Student Accounts, Chicago campus, who has volunteered to be the group’s United Way campaign manager since 2006, said they haven’t decided what to do with this year’s prize money, but they “are definitely donating the majority of the prize money to a local Chicago charity.” For the past several years, they have donated the first place prize money to the United Way or to other private charitable groups. 

“In 2010, we gave most of the prize money to AmeriCorps’ Haitian Initiative,” said West.

“Last year, we donated $1,250 to the African American and Hispanic Initiative for Inner City Youth. We also set aside $250 for two small lunches that were held at the Allison Hall cafeteria to thank everyone who contributed to last year’s campaign to let them know that we appreciated their generosity.” 

• The $1,000 second place winner was the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Institute for Healthcare Studies with a 51 percent participation rate. Emily Arntson, program assistant at the Institute, and Rachel Thompson, research project coordinator, Feinberg’s department of medicine, General Medicine Division, were co-campaign managers.

• The $750 third place award went to University Relations with a 41 percent participation rate. Campaign manager Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for University Relations, said the department would donate the prize money to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Howard Area Community Center. As second place prizewinner last year, University Relations evenly divided the $1,000 winnings by donating $500 to Connections for the Homeless and $500 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

• The $500 fourth place winner was the Feinberg School’s Division of General Internal Medicine (GIM) with a 36 percent participation rate.

• The Feinberg School of Medicine’s Institute for Healthcare Studies (IHS) also won the “most improved” award of $250 for increasing their participation from last year’s 4.65 percent to this year’s 50.88 percent -- a 45 percentage point increase.

Since there is one Staff Relations Committee (SRC) for GIM and IHS, co-campaign managers Emily Arntson and Rachel Thompson plan to pool the money and work with the SRC to decide on a use that will benefit both departments. They also plan to donate a portion of the funds back to the United Way.

To encourage fellow staff members to donate to Northwestern’s 2011 United Way campaign, Arntson and Thompson spoke at the departments’ all-staff monthly meetings in October and December and provided donation forms, a collection jar and instructions for contributing online. They also provided donation instructions in the departments’ weekly e-newsletter and organized a Halloween cookie contest and a holiday cookie decorating booth to raise funds. 

“Traditionally, there was only one campaign manager for both GIM and IHS, since the two departments share a floor,” said Thompson. “This year, Emily and I worked together to maximize participation.”