Richard McCarty, one of three chairs for Hopkins' upcoming United Way campaign, says that a sensitivity to social needs has been part of his fabric from an early age. McCarty attributes this compassion to the example set by his parents and the administrators and teachers at the public high school he attended in New Rochelle, N.Y., who, he says, "did a very good job of presenting social problems."
Yet, the harsh realities of life didn't truly hit home until his days as an undergraduate at Hopkins, says McCarty, now the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Through volunteer work in literacy programs, McCarty says, he came face-to-face with 12-year-olds who couldn't read and with other Baltimore youth who had no place to call home.
"Those experiences really stuck with me all these years," says McCarty some 40 years later. "And I think those sorts of problems, if anything, have gotten worse. But what makes me feel a little better about things is that the United Way is out there, and it's helping. It's doing incredible things."
An outspoken believer in the United Way, McCarty says he is delighted to have the opportunity to be one of this year's campaign chairs. Now, he says, it's time for him to roll up his sleeves and for the Hopkins community to make a difference.
The university will officially begin its 2001 campaign for the United Way of Central Maryland with a kickoff event at noon on Sept. 28 in Shriver Hall, Homewood campus. Several launches at other divisions will also take place this month.
This year's three campaign chairs--for the university, McCarty; for the Applied Physics Laboratory, Mary Lasky, information services branch supervisor; and for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Roger A. Johns, chairman of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the School of Medicine--have set a combined Hopkins goal of $2,050,000.
This figure represents a total for contributions from JHM and all university divisions except the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, whose donations are reported to the Washington capital area campaign. Last year's combined Hopkins gifts to the United Way of Central Maryland totaled $1,934,979, which represented 105.6 percent of the overall goal and a record high for Hopkins.
Events scheduled for the six-week campaign include a university-wide Day of Caring with youth from the Children's Diagnostic Treatment Center, a division of the Woodbourne Center, to be held Sept. 20 at Port Discovery; a fund-raising bake sale/flea market on Nov. 9; and several lottery drawings throughout the campaign for those employees returning pledges or contributions of $35 or more.
The Days of Caring are events in which staff and faculty can get directly involved with a local community service.
Mary Lasky says she and her fellow APL staff members are ready to carry on the Lab's strong tradition of Days of Caring participation. From August to the end of October, APL personnel will take part in more than 45 separate volunteer events. Lasky says these events benefit not only those being served by the various United Way-affiliated organizations but the volunteers as well.
"When people get out and have these wonderful experiences with these agencies, they are definitely more touched by the United Way," Lasky says. "It's my belief that when people give of their time and effort, they are much more willing to support the financial campaign, now that they have firsthand knowledge of what these agencies are doing."
The money raised by the 2001 United Way campaign will support the more than 250 human service programs that seek to improve people's lives in Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties.
McCarty says we have a responsibility to give what we can, whatever the dollar amount.
"Let's face it, we all in a sense live in Baltimore, and anything we can do to improve our city and the environment in which we live and work is essential," says McCarty, who has been dubbed the Million-Dollar Dean, in reference to his $1 million United Way goal. Accordingly, the staff of the Dean's Office, who McCarty says are "relishing their roles" behind the scenes in the campaign, have become the Million-Dollar Dean Team.
McCarty has chosen to target the message of the 2001 campaign to helping victims of domestic violence.
"Personally, I've seen what domestic violence can do," McCarty says. "So when I will be talking to groups in my role as chair, this is a subject I will most certainly address. It gives people something to hold onto."
The focus for Roger A. Johns, who is chairing the JHM drive, is emphasizing the $32.2 million in grants that Johns Hopkins Medicine received last year alone from various local United Way agencies and national affiliates such as the American Cancer Society.
"I think it's important for us all to realize that people think of United Way as supporting others, but it supports us as well," Johns says. "I think there is something for everyone here when they look at where their United Way dollars go."
Johns says he is striving to increase participation rates among JHM employees, encouraging people to contribute to the United Way Community Safety Net, a way of giving promoted by the Central Maryland campaign. Financial gifts not earmarked for a specific program or agency will be divided among four main target areas: Investing in Children and Youth, Building the Work Force, Strengthening Families and Responding to Crisis.
McCarty says he actually thinks of the United Way as much more than a safety net. "There are many wonderful stories of people who have gotten into that net but then bounced back out. If it's just a net and you stayed there, that is one matter," he says. "But if you bounce out and regain your life, I think it's quite a different thing."
For more information on Hopkins' United Way campaign, go to www.jhu.edu/~outreach/uway.