On United Way: Kicking Off A Season Of Hope Mike Field ------------------- Staff Writer On Sept. 28 commuters to the Homewood campus are going to be greeted with free coffee and doughnuts when they park in the "P" lot in front of Garland Hall. "It's just our way of saying thank you for support in the years past and reminding them this year's United Way campaign will kick off that morning at 10 a.m. in Shriver Hall," said Judy Peregoff, manager of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs and a driving force behind the university's annual campaign. "We all take a cup of coffee and a doughnut for granted. It may mean nothing to us, but it can be something significant to a lot of people out there. That's what the United Way is all about." This year's campaign theme, "Paint a Brighter Tomorrow," highlights the possibilities inherent in every United Way pledge. "All of these agencies are vitally important to the people of Central Maryland," said Don Giddens, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering and chair of the 1995 university United Way campaign. "Especially this year, with the anticipated cutbacks in federal support, we are looking at a situation where private giving is even more important." This year's campaign will operate slightly differently than in years past, with almost all the appeals and fund-raising efforts taking place in the month of October, rather than spread out over three months. Planners hope the shorter pledge period will enable the campaign to make its case clearly and with greater focus. "We've tried to consolidate everything into the month of October to encourage a careful but prompt decision," Giddens said. Baltimore newscaster Sally Thorner will join this year's Homewood kickoff, which will include a visit from a dozen Lafayette Square Community Day Care Center children. As beneficiaries and ambassadors of a United Way program, the children will hand out hundreds of original finger paintings as their way of saying thank you to those attending the kickoff. More of the original art work will be distributed on Oct. 2, when the campaign initiates a "roving kickoff" on the East Baltimore campus. A Peabody Institute clarinet player will lead a parade of volunteers in painter's clothes from building to building as they distribute finger paintings, fliers and brochures. This year's campaign goal is $573,000. As in years past, the university effort includes all major Baltimore-based Hopkins schools and divisions. The hospital, Applied Physics Laboratory, the Nitze School for Advanced International Studies and the Bayview Medical Center will conduct separate campaigns. Last year, the university's United Way campaign raised $552,750. "It's important for people to realize that this money raised in the community stays in the community," Giddens said. "Like Hopkins, the United Way is very decentralized. Almost all of the money given through the United Way goes directly to programs at work on a local level." United Way of Central Maryland serves individuals in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Essentially an umbrella organization that raises funds for an array of smaller charities and service providers, United Way funds support everything from care to those with AIDS to adult education to veterans and youth services. Money for the United Way campaign is solicited from university faculty and staff in the form of direct, one-time contributions or in monthly automatic payroll deductions. "We're hoping to raise more money this year by convincing more members of the university community to participate," Peregoff said. "That will only happen if we are successful in demonstrating that this money goes to a variety of important community services that all of us, in one way or another, benefit from. The bulk of United Way contributions goes directly to providing services to our neighbors in need. That's the important part." In years past the Hopkins campaign has been one of the leading sources of contributions in the Central Maryland United Way effort. "As a major employer in the area, we have always been conscious of the fact that there is reason for us to set a good example," Giddens said. "It is incumbent upon us to step up and do what we can, to be the good citizen in Baltimore and surrounding communities. The United Way campaign permits us to show we care. "We are asking everyone at the university to read the information and think carefully about playing a role in the campaign. It's important for each of us to take the time to consider lending our support. We hope that every member of the Hopkins community will join us in this important effort."
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