October 9, 2000
United Way campaign gets rolling
By Michael Terrazas email@example.com
Emory's 2000 United Way campaign is under way, and the University has increased its goal to $380,000 to capitalize on last year's success.
"In the last four years of the campaign, we've reached more people and raised more than our goal each year," said Michelle Smith, director of corporate relations and leader of Emory's United Way campaign. "[In my] first years, we weren't even making our goal, so I think we are really making some progress."
Smith said President Bill Chace sets the monetary goal-last year's was $365,000-but the University does not set a participation goal; the campaign simply hopes to increase participation each year.
"Last year our participation was about 9 percent, so there's a lot of room for improvement," Smith said.
Over the past few years, United Way has undergone some major changes in how it distributes funds, Smith said.
The organization has adopted a community-based approach to solving problems like after-school care for inner-city children or job training.
"[United Way] surveyed the populations in the 13 [metro Atlanta] counties and asked people who live in communities all over the area what they thought was important," Smith said. "People wanted safer and stronger communities, and they wanted to support programs that did that."
She added that the old concept of "United Way agencies" no longer applies, and any nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that's dedicated to one of United Way's "solution areas"-such as "Strengthening Fam-ilies" or "Nurturing Children & Youth"-is eligible to apply for funding.
The 2000 campaign also offers participants a "specific-care" pledge form that allows them to direct funds to-or exclude them from-individual organizations.
"In a way, it has been evolving, and when they say that it's a 'new United Way,' it's true," Smith said. "It's not the old entity that I think many people have associated the United Way with being."
Emory's campaign has enlisted 71 ambassadors from all corners of the University, from Emory College to Wesley Woods, to act as information sources about the campaign. Ambassadors coordinate with department heads to hold informational meetings to educate employees about United Way and the campaign.
"We as fund-raisers realize that you can't raise money if you can't pitch," Smith said. "In that sense, we feel an obligation to provide an accurate picture of what United Way is doing. There is a pretty broad array of things that people can choose from in terms of support."
United Way "thermometers" have already sprung up around campus to record Emory's progress in its campaign, and Smith said she hopes to meet the $380,000 goal by Thanksgiving.
For information about United Way and/or Emory's campaign, visit www.emory.edu/IA/OCR/unitedway1.html or call 404-727-5639.