Johns Hopkins Gazette | January 12, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 12, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 17
At Time of Great Economic Need, United Way Campaign Tops Goal

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Despite a gloomy economy, employees and students of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine pledged more than $2.1 million to the 2008 United Way of Central Maryland campaign, topping the overall goal by nearly $50,000.

More than $200,000 of the total was pledged to the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund, which supports agencies that serve communities in close proximity to Johns Hopkins campuses and have a strong relationship with the university and its employees. Employees were allowed to designate all or part of their donation to the fund, created last year to assist community-oriented organizations and agencies that may not currently receive United Way funding.

The $2,113,344 raised represents 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 combined university/Johns Hopkins Medicine financial goal for the 2008 campaign was $2,066,000.

In 2007, Johns Hopkins raised $2,058,166.

Noticeably absent from this year's campaign were the traditional pledge packets that had been either mailed to employees' homes or sent to their campus mailboxes. In keeping with the university's Sustainability Initiative, the campaign had gone mostly paperless. Employees were able to contribute through a secure and confidential electronic system.

Nick Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering and the university's United Way chair, said that he marveled at the way employees positively responded to the annual call for giving.

"This was a tough year for charitable donations, so I'm absolutely thrilled at the level of participation and the amount of money we were able to raise," Jones said. "As I pitched throughout the campaign, Johns Hopkins must continue to be a leader and step up when times are tough. Even faced with these great financial challenges, and a new paperless system of pledging, the Johns Hopkins community came together in a fabulous way."

Jones gave "a huge amount of credit" to the JHU United Way divisional coordinators, ambassadors and staff who rolled out the campaign.

"At every opportunity, these folks did their very best to promote the campaign and get people involved," Jones said. "And our community responded."

United Way of Central Maryland supports human service agencies in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. With donations still filtering in, $1,242,988 has been pledged to the university's campaign, which kicked off Oct. 13 and officially ended Dec. 12.

Several of the university's 15 United Way designated units far exceeded their goal. Of special note in this year's campaign, the Carey Business School bested its goal by 49 percent, raising $17,878 with a 44 percent participation rate.

The overall university participation rate was 17 percent.

In its inaugural year, 2007, the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund raised $148,830 plus $20,000 from President William R. Brody's office. To be considered for funds, 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.

Jeff Pratt, director of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs, the office that oversees the JHU United Way campaign, said that the second round of grants through the Neighborhood Fund will be distributed in March.

Johns Hopkins Medicine launched its intensive two-week United Way effort on Oct. 13 and raised $1,545,773, exceeding its goal.

Joanne Pollak, United Way chair for Johns Hopkins Medicine and vice president and general counsel of JHM, said that the campaign was poised to miss the mark, but with almost 70 Leadership pledges ($1,000 and up) and donors rallying at the 11th hour, they were able to surpass the $1,484,500 target by more than $61,000.

Pollak said that nearly all Johns Hopkins Medicine entities met or far surpassed their goals. Notably, Johns Hopkins Home Care Group raised 155 percent of its goal, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians raised 134 percent of its goal, and many administrative and clinical departments exceeded 50 percent participation, with three at 100 percent.

While there were many positives, Pollak noted that Johns Hopkins Medicine fell short of last year's dollar total and participation rate. She said she believes that several factors may have contributed to the down tick, namely the economic situation and the paperless campaign.

"We believe many donors were waiting for the packet and personal visit that they had received in prior years, and that delayed their giving, or they did not give as a result," she said. "In addition, there were several charitable campaigns that overlapped the United Way campaign in the fall of 2008."

In addition to the Neighborhood Fund, employees were 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 more holistically, not just to give but also to advocate on behalf of United Way's member organizations and to volunteer their time at area nonprofits.

To increase the number of donors and put some fun into the fund raising, this year's campaign featured more activities than in the past. Events included a Leadership Luncheon with WJZ-TV anchor Denise Koch as the featured speaker, the second annual Homewood Block Party and the sixth annual Chili Cook-Off and Bake-Off. In addition, divisions held festive events such as a free breakfast sponsored by the School of Public Health, an ice cream social at the School of Nursing and an online auction run by Campus Safety and Security at Homewood, all to raise awareness and encourage donations to this year's campaign.

Expressing his appreciation to Johns Hopkins donors and leadership, Mark Furst, executive vice president and chief operating officer of United Way of Central Maryland, said, "Today's unprecedented economic challenges are placing great stress on the nonprofit community as we struggle to address the needs of more and more people who are in crisis, or at risk of falling into it.

"The fact that the university achieved its campaign goal, having been at 85 percent just a few weeks ago, is a testament to the people and culture of Johns Hopkins, and to the leadership provided by Nick Jones and Joanne Pollak," he said. "There are literally tens of thousands of people across the region who will benefit from the generosity of the Hopkins community. On their behalf, we are extraordinarily thankful."

Although the campaign has officially ended, donations are needed and welcome all year. To make a pledge, or for more information on the campaign, go to:


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