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United Way campaign seeks ‘Results That Matter’

September 13, 2007

Many people in Maricopa County are just an illness, a car accident or a lost job away from homelessness.

Fortunately for those of us who work at ASU, we have safeguards in place to avoid such a disaster, such as health insurance, a steady paycheck and supportive colleagues.

And now we have the opportunity to help those less blessed. The 2007 United Way campaign begins Sept. 17 and continues through Oct. 19.

This year’s campaign goal is $775,000. Last year, ASU faculty, staff and students contributed $714.927 – with 32.9 percent of employees participating.

As in the past, Valley of the Sun United Way disburses donations in two ways: through the “Results That Matter” campaign, and to agencies specifically named by donors.

In choosing Results That Matter, donors elect to let VSUW decide how to spend their money, based on the recommendations of committees of volunteers who spend hours reading agency and program proposals.

Rather than look at just one aspect of the problem, Results that Matter enables VSUW to put together agencies that can work together to treat all aspects of the problems.

For example: A homeless family may need child abuse and neglect intervention; domestic violence prevention, shelter and counseling; emergency and transitional shelter; rent and utility assistance; food assistance; and basic medical, dental and vision care.

In other words, says United Way volunteer Dave Ropp, they need a “cocktail of service” that no one agency can offer by itself.

Donors who choose the Results That Matter option also can decide if they want their funds to go to several sub-areas, such as providing children youth and adults with opportunities for learning and skill development, assisting people in crisis, helping the working poor or supporting Success by 6, a program for preschool children.

Soon, an army of 262 ASU campaign managers will be leading the charge, making sure every employee knows what’s at stake for Maricopa County if problems are not addressed, including the facts that one in 10 families in Maricopa County live in poverty, more than 68,000 people are unemployed and 31 teens drop out of school each day.

Every ASU employee will receive a packet of information and a confidential pledge card. Unit representatives will show videos and talk more about the campaign in the coming weeks.

But it will not all be serious business. Those who return their pledge forms by Sept. 30 will be in an early bird drawing for a free airline ticket courtesy of USAirways.

Then the special events will begin. In the past, ASU departments have staged pie-throwing contests, chili cook-offs, pizza parties, ice-cream socials, a silent auction and more.

Donations can be made by payroll deduction, through eWAY, or by cash, check or credit card.

Some people give as little as $5 per pay period, while others are members of the ASU Leadership Society, where the minimum donation is $1,000 annually.

Every dollar adds up, and no one should feel ashamed of even giving a dollar a pay period.

So why should ASU employees support VSUW?

“It’s the right thing to do,” says Christine Wilkinson, ASU campaign chair. “It’s part of our university mission.”