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United Way campaign edges nearer to goal

January 23, 2008

The ASU United Way campaign for 2007 is almost history – but not quite yet. Funds are still dribbling in, and the goal of $775,000 is still within reach.

The campaign total as of Jan. 3 is $772,000, says Wilma Mathews, ASU’s campaign manager.

Even though the ASU community is $3,000 short of its goal, $772,000 is nothing to be ashamed of, Mathews says. In fact, it’s something for the ASU community to be proud of: In comparison, last year’s total was $714,927.

So what will $772,000 “buy”?

According to Valley of the Sun United Way, $15 will provide a family with groceries for a full week, so ASU could buy food for more than 1,000 families for a full year.

For $1,000 per year, 20 homeless children could receive nutritious meals. Do the math, and that’s a lot of children who could have full stomachs and good food.

That same amount of money would provide dental care for one child for a year, so ASU’s contribution could mean a huge difference to the health and self-esteem of a lot of children.

How did ASU do this year in terms of individual participation? According to Mathews, nearly 24 percent of ASU employees contributed to the drive – which includes Valley of the Sun United Way and Mesa United Way. The total giving increased by 8.25 percent over last year, but the percentage of donors decreased from 28 percent in 2006.

ASU employees traditionally let their imaginations run wild when thinking of ways to raise funds for United Way, though most of them seem to involve food.

This year, the fundraisers included the Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management’s Iron Chef Competition; a Halloween chili sale, bake sale and hot dog sale – Dog Days of Summer – in University Services Building; a Beanie Baby sale sponsored by Human Resources; a pie-throwing contest sponsored by University Student Initiatives; a Cardboard Boat Challenge sponsored by Campus Recreation; a hot dog lunch conducted by the College of Education; a custard pie toss over at the School of Music; and an online auction sponsored by the Polytechnic campus.

As is tradition, the United Way campaign committee presented Super Star Awards to the most creative, hard-working staff and departments.
This year’s winners were: “What Can You Do in 2 Days” award, Lee McPheters, W. P. Carey School of Business; “Hottest Fundraiser,” USB/Purchasing/Facilities Management’s Chili Cook-Off; “Best Rescue of Pledge Cards,” David Leo, Memorial Union (Leo rescued the MU’s United Way pledge cards following the MU fire); “Most Creative Event,” Cardboard Boat Challenge; “Campaign Drama Queen,” Kim Edwards, Intercollegiate Athletics; and “Best Campaign Newsletter,” Mary Lou Fulton College of Education.