The U-Ms annual United Way campaign begins Wednesday (Sept. 16) with the traditional luncheon for volunteers. More than 350 volunteers have been invited to attend the noon kick-off meal at the Michigan League, which begins the Universitys six-week-long drive to raise funds benefitting more than 60 area agencies.
This years goal is $900,000, the same as last year. In 1992, U-M contributors broke the $1 million mark in pledges and contributions.
University United Way General Chair John D. Forsyth says a significant increase in the campaign goal did not seem appropriate this year.
During these difficult economic times, I know that the University community is appreciative of financial security, he says, and even more sensitive to the needs of others. He noted that equally as important as the financial goal is the number of employees contributing to United Way. Last year, he says, only 48 percent of University employees contributed to the campaign, although many more are probably involved in United Way agencies and donate time and expertise. In spite of the economic climate, giving a few dollars to the United Way is more important than it ever has been. Like most things, when the need is highest it is hardest to meet that need, says Forsyth, who is executive director of University Hospitals.
Funds from the campaign will aid in such efforts as crisis intervention, legal and medical services, counseling and youth activities, and provide food, clothing and temporary shelter for many of those in need in Washtenaw County.
According to Peter M. Pellerito, U-M campaign adviser and assistant to the vice president for state relations, it will be even easier for donors to designate their gifts to specific agencies or United Way affiliates.
We are increasing the donor option program, and we continue to encourage individuals to designate their dollars to the organizations they feel are important, he says.
Pellerito also noted that volunteers may have to work harder to help people understand that the need in the community has not decreased.
University regional chairs for this years campaign are:
Barbara G. Murphy, assistant to the LS&A dean; Susan S. Lipschutz, senior associate dean, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Joanne L. Lound, assistant to the vice provost for medical affairs; Kenneth G. Trester, director of planning and marketing, Medical Center;
Lee C. Katterman, senior science writer, Division of Research Development and Administration; Rodger A. Wolfe, assistant to the vice president for student affairs; and Michael R. Kalasinski Jr., administrative manager, College of Architecture and Urban Planning.