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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 13, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 7
A Critical Time for Giving

Uncertainty of times increases need for participation

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The university's 2008 United Way of Central Maryland campaign, which kicks off today, will be shorter, greener and more imperative than ever before, according to campaign leadership.

Nick Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering and the university's United Way chair, said that the uncertainty of the times and the economic challenges that lie ahead make participation in the 2008 campaign "critically" important.

"All of us face much uncertainty, but we need to remember that there are people out there who are struggling already. They are in need now, without question," Jones said. "I feel that this is one of those times when our Johns Hopkins community steps forward as the leadership institution that it is. People will look to us to set an example. I have great faith that people here at Johns Hopkins — even in these difficult financial times — will step up and support the United Way and what it represents."

Noticeably absent from this year's campaign will be the traditional pledge packets that have been either mailed home or sent to employees' campus mailboxes. In keeping with the university's Sustainability Initiative, the campaign has gone mostly paperless.

Employees may contribute through a secure and confidential electronic system, which can be found at To access the system, employees will use their JHED ID and password.

Those who would rather pledge by paper can still download a form from the United Way site or contact their department coordinator.

The combined university/Johns Hopkins Medicine financial goal for the 2008 campaign is $2,066,000.

In 2007, Johns Hopkins raised $2,058,166, a total for contributions from all university divisions except SAIS, whose donations are reported to the National Capital Area campaign in Washington, D.C., and the Applied Physics Laboratory, which no longer reports its financial goals and results.

The university's campaign, which will continue until Dec. 12, will be rolled out by its "ambassadors" — selected Johns Hopkins employees who will educate others about United Way and answer questions. The campaign will also feature several e-mails reminding people to pledge online and of campaign-related events.

In keeping with recent years, the Johns Hopkins Medicine campaign will be very condensed. It runs from Oct. 13 to 24.

Joanne Pollak, chair of the JHM campaign and vice president and general counsel for Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that she wants to build on last year's strong effort. In 2007, Johns Hopkins Medicine raised $1.7 million, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. Participation also grew significantly, with 5,605 new donors and 125 pledging at the leadership level of $1,000 or more.

Pollak, who also chaired last year's JHM campaign, echoed Jones' call for action to support United Way.

"This year's Johns Hopkins Medicine United Way Campaign comes at a time of economic uncertainty for everyone but especially those in our community who look to United Way for help," Pollak said. "This year more than ever we need to continue JHM's generous support of United Way of Central Maryland."

Employees will be able to designate all or part of their donation to the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund, now in its second year.

The fund supports agencies that serve communities in close proximity to Johns Hopkins campuses and have a strong relationship with the university and its employees. It was created to assist community-oriented organizations and agencies that may not currently receive United Way funding.

In its inaugural year, the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund raised $148,830, augmented by a $20,000 donation from the President's Office. To be considered, nonprofit organizations must be associated with Johns Hopkins through employee and/or institutional involvement and deliver services to the communities near Johns Hopkins campuses. A committee representing a cross-section of Johns Hopkins employees oversees the allocation of the fund.

Organizations that received 2007 grants were ACORN, Biotechnical Institute of Maryland, Charles Village Recreation League, Children of the World Co-Op, Civic Works, Heart's Place Shelter, Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, People's Homesteading Group, the Community School and the Family Tree. The grants addressed specific requests from the groups for efforts such as after-school programs, community beautification projects, a homeless shelter and a homeownership and foreclosure-prevention fair.

Jeff Pratt, director of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs, the office that oversees the JHU United Way campaign, said that grant applications will be accepted for the Neighborhood Fund today through December 12. Pratt said that he hopes the Neighborhood Fund is able to expand on the number of organizations that receive funding and build upon the success of last year.

Employees will still be able to donate all or part of their gift to United Way of Central Maryland, a specific agency or one or more of three new "Live United" program areas: education, income, and health and safety.

The "Live United" initiative also asks people to participate in United Way more holistically, not to just give but also to advocate on behalf of its member organizations and to volunteer their time at area nonprofits.

To make it easier to volunteer, United Way of Central Maryland has created an online center,, to find or post volunteer opportunities from across the region.

In connection with the "Live United" theme, the JHM campaign has made several videos of employees who have volunteered for or been helped by United Way organizations. To view them, go to:

Among the events highlighting this year's campaign will be a JHU Community Block Party, which will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, on Homewood's Levering Plaza. It will feature food, games, a silent auction and representatives of United Way agencies. For admission, participants need to bring a completed pledge form, receipt from an online pledge or a $5 donation.

Other important activities are a Chili Cook-Off, Friday, Nov. 7, and a university Day of Caring, Saturday, Nov. 15.

The campaigns will feature department- and office-level events that seek to educate Johns Hopkins employees on the work of the Neighborhood Fund as well as United Way of Central Maryland, which supports human service agencies in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties.

For more information on the Johns Hopkins campaigns, go to or contact Jeff Pratt in the Office of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs at or 410-516-6060.


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