2011 United Way campaign ends Dec. 31, but awareness continues

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas logoSMU’s 2011 United Way campaign enters its final weeks with $61,000 raised toward a goal of $70,000. The official deadline is Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 – but this year’s Campaign Committee plans to extend faculty and staff involvement with United Way partner agencies into the new year.

“The end of the year is a great time to give, and the need right now is great,” says Steve Edwards, Faculty Senate president-elect and SMU’s 2011 United Way campaign co-chair. And as the campaign’s end draws near, faculty and staff support is crucial, he adds.

“We are truly blessed to be at such a fine University, and SMU itself has been reaching out more and more to the surrounding communities,” he says. “The University does not exist without Dallas, and Dallas benefits from our success. We are asking everyone at SMU to recognize this strong relationship with our city, and help those who need help through the United Way.”

Edwards points out that although the United Way name is well known, not many people know what the organization actually does. The United Way collects and then distributes money to partner organizations and does the work of making sure charities spend the money efficiently and effectively, he says.

“Through a competitive process, charities have to apply and justify requests for United Way support. This means that every dollar donated through the United Way is making the maximum impact,” Edwards says.

United Way stock photo of a man in a 'Live United' T-shirt The University’s support for the United Way starts at the top, Edwards says. He and co-chair Bill Dworaczyk, SMU Staff Association past-president, have received enthusiastic support from President R. Gerald Turner throughout this year’s campaign.

“President Turner has been faithful in helping us get the word out about the campaign and letting the leadership at SMU know that giving to our community through the United Way is a priority for the University,” he says. “Such efforts have been extremely helpful in raising the visibility of the United Way campaign at SMU.”

Park ’N Pony and the Staff Association have joined the campaign as well. Park ’N Pony has offered to waive campus parking fines in exchange for toy donations made by Wednesday, Dec. 14, to United Way partner agency Children’s Medical Center. Meanwhile, Children’s is also the focus of the Staff Association’s 2011 holiday toy and gift drive, which also concludes Dec. 14.

“SMU has wonderful, generous people, and just unleashing their creative energies is allowing us to make more of a difference,” Edwards says.

This year, student participation received “a big boost” in one-time $10 donations thanks to the campaign’s Text To Give strategy, spearheaded by Jennifer (JJ) Jones of Student Development and Programs, says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources. The campaign committee plans to enhance faculty-staff involvement through organized trips to United Way partner agencies in North Texas in the coming year, he adds.

“We want to show how these donations impact and change lives,” Edwards says. More information is forthcoming, but Edwards is maintaining a list of individuals who would like to visit a specific United Way partner agency and invites interested faculty and staff members to contact him via e-mail.

The United Way Campaign sent an e-mail to all SMU faculty and staff members with a link and password to make a one-time donation or schedule a payroll deduction online. If you did not receive the e-mail or no longer have it, contact Kellyn Dunn to receive another copy.

You can also text SMU to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

> Visit the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas online
> SMU Forum: Staff Association announces 2011 holiday party & service project
> SMU Forum: SMUSA, Park ’N Pony create “Toys for Tickets” holiday program