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ASU cooks up funds for United Way


November 09, 2007

The ASU Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management (CNLM) staff wanted to raise money above and beyond their individual contributions to the 2007 ASU United Way campaign. But what was the best way to involve all 16 members of the staff?

After some consideration, the CNLM staff decided to hold its own “Iron Chef” competition, which took its cues from the popularity of the Food Network show of the same name. The CNLM staff’s “Iron Chef” event raised $135, making the total contribution of the center $3,053 to date.

In addition to the staff fundraiser, CNLM also announced that 100 percent of the staff participated in the campaign.

For the competition, each staffer chose one of three ways to contribute. To compete, one had to donate $20 and cook enough food to feed the staff. To judge, one had to donate a $10 privilege fee and outline a judging rubric. To just enjoy lunch with co-workers, one had to donate $5. The prizes included bragging rights, the center’s “Iron Chef” apron, and a golden ladle. All food and prizes were donated by staff members, so 100 percent of the donations went directly to the United Way campaign.

“Part of our mission is to enhance the effectiveness of those who lead, manage and support nonprofit organizations,” says Robert F. Ashcraft, director of the center. “The United Way campaign is a perfect opportunity for us to practice what we preach. By coming together as a team, we were able to raise money to support one of the many amazing nonprofits in the Valley.”

Dishes were given up to 10 points for taste, up to five points for presentation and up to five points for originality. In the end, Michelle Lyons-Mayer’s cuisine reigned supreme.

“It’s really great to be able to have some fun with colleagues and support a very worthy effort at the same time,” Lyons-Mayer says.
The center supports the United Way year-round through other means, too. For the second year, the center’s AmeriCorps program, Public Allies, has placed service-minded young persons in a nonprofit apprenticeship at the Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW).

Amy Cox O’Hara, amy.ohara@asu.edu
(602) 496-0185
Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management