Cornell United Way campaign will be shorter, more intense

James Brown, United Way of Tompkins County president, at the 2017 Cornell United Way campaign kickoff, Sept. 20.

At the Cornell United Way kickoff Sept. 20, Andy Noel, the Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education and co-chair of this year’s campus campaign, announced this year’s goal of $750,000.

Last week, the United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) set its goal of $1,933,184.

“There are people struggling in our communities; there are homeless children and adults … who don’t know where their next meal is coming from; women who aren’t safe in their own homes,” Noel said to Cornell United Way unit directors and other Cornell community members in Friends Hall.

“As we look across the broad array of agencies the United Way supports, each one of them relies on the United Way for critical funds,” Noel said, adding that the campaign is more than a fundraising effort. Through the campaign, “we have a common focus on the people in the community.”

Noel noted that because the operating expenses of the United Way of Tompkins County are fully funded by local businesses and corporations, 100 percent of gifts by individuals go to meeting community needs.

This year, the university’s United Way campaign will begin Sept. 26 with an email including a link for pledging, and will run only until the end of November. Previous campaigns ran through March.

Noel said the shorter duration will mirror the urgency of the needs of those who benefit from United Way support. He encouraged attendees to be active ambassadors on campus, aiming to increase participation in the United Way at all levels, as “every dollar raised directly helps someone.”

Noel also noted that a President’s Leadership Association has been created to recognize members of the Cornell community who have the means to pledge $1,000 or more in the 2017-18 campaign.

Another change: Paper pledge cards will not be mailed to every faculty and staff member. Instead, an email notice will go out indicating how and when individuals can pledge or give online. Cornell retirees still will receive paper pledge cards; those who prefer pledge cards can print them from the United Way website and send them to the UWTC through campus or U.S. mail.

Kate Supron, from Cornell’s Office of Community Relations, at the 2017 Cornell United Way campaign kickoff.

James Brown, UWTC president, said last year some of Tompkins County’s strongest corporate donors reduced their giving, but support from Cornell provided a foundation so the UWTC could maintain the same funding levels to local agencies as in the past. “Tompkins County and the surrounding region is a better place to live in with your support,” he said.

Brown also recognized the efforts of Cornell staff and community members who organized pickup and delivery of nearly two tractor-trailers full of food, water, personal hygiene products and other supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey. He said a similar effort is being organized for those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

This article is written by Nancy Doolittle 

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