University exceeds fund-raiser goal, $1 million mark

by Seth Woerhle

For the first time the University’s Community Fund Drive, an employee fund-raising campaign for charity, has raised more than $1 million.

The fund, which is gathered from University faculty and staff contributions, will go to charitable organizations across the state.

Final tabulations will not be complete until Dec. 21 and more donations are expected. As of Nov. 8, the Community Drive had brought in $1,050,071.

Margaret Carlson, chair of the 2002 Community Fund Drive and executive director of the University’s Alumni Association, said she hoped people would make a habit of giving.

“I hope that once people experience giving, they’ll give the following year and the only question will be how much can they give and which charity will they support,” Carlson said.

In 2001, the drive netted $923,548 with a participation rate of 23.6 percent, Carlson said.

This year, participation grew to 33.1 percent, with more than 4,800 employees contributing.

Although the fund drive had set a goal to raise more than one million dollars, Carlson said the faltering economy had her holding her breath.

The contributions are usually taken out of participating employees’ paychecks each pay period and donated to their chosen organization. Carlson said most donations go to the United Way.

Employees can donate to any reputable charity, and all funds are all distributed through the United Way.

Carlson lauded the University’s General College because of its 96.2 percent participation rate, up from an already high 75 percent.

General College Dean David Taylor said the school has a significant understanding regarding the need for community programs because of the students they serve.

“There’s just a sense here of giving back proportionate to what we do,” Taylor said. “We don’t have the mega-bucks here, but we do have a collective will.”

Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at [email protected]