January 23, 2006

United Way Campaign Passes Goal by $25,000

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The 2005 Cornell United Way campaign exceeded its goal by about $25,000 over winter break, according to numbers released by the United Way last week.

“We are very thankful for the generous support we have received from all donors at Cornell University and thrilled that they have surpassed their goal,” said Ann Colt, campaign and community relations director for the Tompkins County United Way.

Cornell’s pledges this year totaled $652,772 as of Jan. 16, surpassing the organization’s campus goal of $627,000. The Tompkins County United Way as a whole reached 94 percent of its own $1.8 million goal. Last year, Cornell’s campaign collected one-third of the county’s overall donations.

Campaign leaders, though encouraged by the totals, are hoping for a campus participation rate of 20 percent. Currently, they are at 16 percent, one point short of last year’s number.

Students and faculty who have not yet participated are being asked to donate to the Urgent Rx Challenge Grant, which will help Tompkins County residents without insurance obtain prescriptions.

In addition to the Urgent Rx program, the Tompkins County United Way helps fund more than 100 programs through 30 local agencies, such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army. Money donated by students and staff will be given directly to these agencies.

Charles Walcott, dean of university faculty and 2005 campaign chair, is stressing that even small donations can make a difference.

“A contribution of $1 per pay period can provide five days of ‘Meals on Wheels’ for one person, 50 lunches for low-income people at the Friendship Center or two round trips to the pediatrician’s office,” he said.

For the United Way to reach its goals has been especially challenging this year, given the outpouring of donations to victims of Hurricane Katrina and the myriad other natural disasters that struck the globe this year.

Throughout the campaign, Walcott has stressed the needs of local individuals throughout the county.

“We need to remember that there are many people – our friends and neighbors here in Tompkins County – who also need assistance,” Walcott wrote in a letter on the United Way website.

Many students have waited until after the holiday season to make contributions.

“Since I live here at Cornell most of the time, I feel it’s important to help out people in this community,” said transfer student Guy Mazza ’08. “Now that Christmas is over, I have a more money to donate.”

The campaign will end officially on March 31. Students, faculty and staff may donate through pledge cards or payroll deductions. For more information on the Tompkins County United Way or how to contribute, visit www.uwtc.org.

Archived article by Nathan Lowry
Sun Staff Writer