U encourages its employees to donate

The Community Fund Drive benefits many charitable foundations in Minnesota.

Heather L. Mueller

BY Heather L. Mueller

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At 17, Timberly Williams was diagnosed with lupus, a disease that attacks the immune system. At one point, her illness became so severe she considered suicide.

Williams found emotional and financial support from Minnesotans through the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. She said donations helped cover the cost of the more than 100 surgeries she underwent.

Sullivan said drive organizers are cognizant that some employees might chose not to participate and might already be involved in other forms of community giving.

“The people who organize it are very sensitive, very much aware that they don’t want to appear to be manipulating or pressuring people to do this sort of thing,” he said.

Sullivan said employees owe it to the community to take part in charitable giving.

“If you look at the world as a whole, we’re a pretty privileged group here,” he said. “Giving back to the community is important and it’s important that we do that collectively to the extent that we can.”

Kim Carlisle, payroll services representative for the drive, said online donations are increasing.

“Our numbers have increased in the amount that was given this first week and the percentage of participation,” she said.

In the first week of October, $334,465 was donated, Gmeinder said.

Carlisle said employees can donate through paper form, online and payroll deduction.

Employees can either deduct money from a paycheck in February or smaller amounts throughout the year, she said.

Most people, if they can, are very willing to donate, Carlisle said.

“By doing it through the workplace Ö your corporation or university becomes a good corporate citizen and it looks great for society that an institution like the University of Minnesota is giving money back to the community,” she said.

Employees who donate through payroll deductions can take as little as a dollar from each paycheck, Carlisle said.

“You still get to donate and donate whatever is right for you,” she said. “It’s a great effort and people should feel really good about being able to donate to several different organizations.”