United Way campaign seeks ‘Results that Matter'
On any given day in Maricopa County, 15,000 young people spend the day without purpose, neither working nor going to school. And 30 more teenagers will drop out of school to join their ranks.
Those statistics should tear at the hearts of every person involved in education – especially those who work in higher education.
Members of ASU's faculty and staff can help change that bleak outlook by supporting the Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW) and the Mesa United Way .
But wait a minute, some might think: United Way just gives money to a list of agencies and they each go about their jobs as usual.
Not any more. For the last several years, VSUW has changed its focus to a campaign called “Results That Matter.”
“United Way focuses on the underlying causes of the most serious problems in Maricopa County ,” says Marcia L. Mintz, United Way 's senior vice president for development. “ ‘Results That Matter' is an investment in our community, not just a quick fix.”
United Way donors can earmark their contributions for the Results That Matter campaign, and let United Way community volunteers decide how the dollars will be spent.
Results That Matter includes three components: Invest in Learning, Invest in Empowering, and Invest in Caring.
“Learning” includes programs for quality child care and early education, youth mentoring and adult and family education and literacy.
“Empowering” focuses on job training and placement, financial literacy, affordable housing and family counseling and support.
“Caring” funds are spent on domestic violence shelters and counseling, homeless emergency shelters, emergency rent and utility assistance, basic medical, dental and vision care, and food assistance.
Additionally, there are special investment programs such as Success by 6. By convening school districts, educators, child care providers, nonprofits, parents and caregivers, the VSUW created this program designed to ensure that children entering school are ready to succeed.
ASU's United Way campaign officially opens on Sept. 15, with a goal for 2006 of $662,670. Last year, the ASU community contributed $597,000.
Though United Way contributions have increased each year since 2003, the percentage of ASU faculty and staff contributing has decreased, from 30.7 percent in 2003 to 28.1 percent last year.
“We need 35 percent to 40 percent participation,” says Wilma Mathews, ASU's United Way campaign chair.
Last year, the average gift was $154.33, not counting the special Leadership giving categories.
ASU United Way volunteers will be making presentations to their colleagues in the next few weeks, and pledge cards will be arriving soon.
Those who return their pledge cards by Sept. 30 will be entered into an “early bird” drawing for an airline ticket and other prizes.
But all those who support United Way will be winners. Just ask Stephanie, whose involvement in the VSUW Aspire Initiative helped her make an education and career decision. Today, she works with elderly and developmentally disabled individuals as a certified nursing assistant.
Or ask Louis, who completed his GED through a United-Way funded literacy and education program. Today, he has advanced his career with his employer.
Or ask any of the thousands of women and children who have found safe refuge from domestic violence – and a way to rebuild their lives.