October 6, 2003

Participation is 2003–04 goal for EmoryGives

By Eric Rangus

With the arrival of the packet containing materials for EmoryGives, the University’s charitable giving campaign, in every faculty and staff member’s mailbox last Wednesday, the 2003–04 effort is under way.

Last year, EmoryGives missed its $425,000 goal by less than $20,000, and despite that disappointing turnout, Michelle Smith, associate vice president for corporate giving, is anything but despondent. In fact, she perhaps is more energized and optimistic than ever before.

“I defy anybody to look through our partners and not find a charity that reflects their personal values and interests,” said Smith, referring to the more than 440 nonprofit groups that are part of EmoryGives.

Much of this year’s campaign resembles the recent past. The goal, $425,000, is the same as last year. Members of the Emory community still have a choice of where they want their donation to go (EmoryGives’ partners of the last two years, United Way of Metro Atlanta, Covington-Newton County United Fund, Community Health Charities of Georgia, Earth Share of Georgia, Georgia Black United Fund and Georgia Shares all return); the Parisian holiday shopping party, which drew more than 500 guests to the chain’s Phipps Plaza store, will be back, Nov. 16; and EmoryGives is teaming with the American Heart Association for its Heart Walk later in the year. In the spring, EmoryGives will shift its focus to volunteerism.

One notable new addition is the arrival of Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Alexander as campaign chair. “I’ve done a lot of volunteerism in the past,” said Alexander, one of the co-founders of Hands-On Atlanta. “So part of this is to spark that same interest in others. Emory is a very generous place, and I think a lot of people would give if they knew how easy it was.”

Alexander will be touring the campus building up support for the campaign, and he started at the Emory Angels breakfast at the Miller-Ward Alumni House last Wednesday.

President Jim Wagner, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Johns and keynote speaker Charles Brewer, chairman of Green Street Properties and founder of MindSpring, also took turns at the podium not only to laud the Emory Angels (people who donated at least $1,000 to EmoryGives last year), but also to drum up support for this year’s effort.

Last year, more than 1,600 people donated to EmoryGives—a participation rate of 10 percent, up a good bit from 6.9 percent in 2001–02. While that increase is a good sign, Smith is not satisfied, and she’s not the only one. Upon meeting with the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s leadership council, one member told her to publicize that 10 percent rate as something Emory must improve. Therefore, one stated goal of this year’s campaign is to boost participation an additional 10 percent.

“Small gifts really make a difference,” Smith said. “Just one or two or five dollars a month can do something important. For instance, it could buy a wig for a child who has just lost his hair to cancer.”

Like Alexander, Smith will be doing her part as well, touring departments and divisions across campus to promote EmoryGives. With her, she will bring the campaign’s promotional video, which will tell the stories of two Emory employees who have been helped by some of EmoryGives’ charities.

Donations to EmoryGives can be made through payroll deduction, a one-time check or money order, or can be billed at a later date. Donation forms are provided in the EmoryGives packet or can be downloaded from the EmoryGives website at www.emorygives.emory.edu. For more information on any aspect of the campaign, visit the website or call 404-727-2020.