The University Record, September 17, 1996
Donors encouraged to look beyond headlines to address community needs
The University's annual fall charitable giving campaign was kicked off yesterday with the traditional pot-pie luncheon. However, with reductions in staff at the Medical Center and charges of impropriety being leveled at the local United Way, this year's fund drive will require a greater-than-traditional effort to meet its $1 million goal.
At the kickoff and in a letter to volunteers from Interim President Homer A. Neal and Campaign Chair Maureen Hartford, it was suggested that donors "look beyond the headlines and continue to support our community's needs." The letter went on to relate, "The Washtenaw United Way has a long history of service to our community, and the agencies it supports are in urgent need of the financial resources provided through our gifts to United Way. Despite the fact that questions have been raised about the management of the organization, it is important to remember why the United way exists. It exists to serve our citizens, and the University of Michigan has been an important part of that service."
"The dozens of agencies and thousands of individuals in need shouldn't be penalized because of allegations against a single individual," says Jim Kosteva, director of community relations. Last year University faculty, staff and students contributed more than $1,043,000 to address community health and human service needs.
This year's campaign theme of "It's your choice" underscores the options that donors have. They can designate precisely where they wish their contributions to go. University employees can choose to give to the United Way, the Environmental Fund of Michigan, the Combined Health Appeal, toward topical problem areas or to any non-profit agency they choose. "The ease of payroll deduction makes it so convenient to help those in the community with real needs. I hope our colleagues here at the University will continue to support this effort," says Susan Fielder, one of the campaign coordinators.
University staff are reminded that any questions or concerns regarding the fall campaign can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To University of Michigan United Way Volunteers and Donors:
We are nearing the time for our annual University kickoff of the United Way campaign. This year, however, there are external concerns about the United Way that could have an impact on the University campaign. We are all concerned about issues raised in recent Ann Arbor News articles regarding the financial management of the Washtenaw United Way. Several current and former staff of the University are on the board of this organization. These board members are deeply concerned about the questions raised in the newspaper, and they are actively involved in a review of these matters. They are taking action on behalf of the University, and we have asked them for assurance that all accounting and business practices at the United Way are appropriate.
The Washtenaw United Way has a long history of service to our community, and the agencies it supports are in urgent need of the financial resources provided through our gifts to United Way. Despite the fact that questions have been raised about the management of the organization, it is important to remember why the United Way exists. It exists to serve our citizens, and the University of Michigan has been an important part of that service.
We hope that you will look beyond the headlines and continue to support our community's needs. We will keep you apprised of further developments from the United Way board and other efforts to improve the University's charitable giving campaign.
Homer Neal, interim president