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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 2, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 5
A New Approach for United Way

Jim Zeller and Frank Bossle led a Johns Hopkins team that participated last week in United Way's "Share Yourself Makeover Challenge," an effort of six major area employers to renovate the East Baltimore headquarters of Healthy Start.
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS

Shorter campaigns, more personal approach are hallmarks for 2006

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Utilizing a more streamlined and personal approach than in previous years, Johns Hopkins' three 2006 campaigns for United Way of Central Maryland — for the university, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Applied Physics Laboratory — will either kick off or swing into high gear this month. (SAIS' donations are reported to the Washington National Capital Area campaign.)

In place of traditional university and divisionwide kickoffs, the campaigns this year will feature more department- and office-level events that seek to educate Johns Hopkins employees on why to give to United Way of Central Maryland, which supports human service agencies in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties.

Frank Bossle, chair of the university effort, said that Johns Hopkins wants to make the campaign as personal as possible and to emphasize how the various United Way agencies improve lives in the community.

"We found that the big kickoff events in general attracted people who were already generous supporters, so now we want to take the campaign to the individual departments and offices," said Bossle, executive director of the Office of Hopkins Internal Audits. "We also wanted to shorten the length of the campaign, to keep it in front of people for a shorter period of time."

The university's campaign launches today and will continue until Nov. 22. In large part, the campaign will be rolled out by its "ambassadors," selected Johns Hopkins employees who will distribute pledge forms, educate others about United Way and answer questions.

Bossle said that in developing its new approach, the university took a cue from United Way of Central Maryland, which has adopted a new, sharpened focus that seeks to prioritize four impact areas: Basic Human Needs, Family Safety, School Readiness and Youth Achieving Potential.

In a break from how it has operated in the past, United Way of Central Maryland will now support only agencies that fall into these impact areas and that can deliver long-term, measurable results. In fact, the organization plans to set forth specific and measurable targets and make the agencies accountable for achieving them within three years. It also will issue periodic progress reports to the communities on what impact these agencies are having.

"It's a bold and courageous move," Bossle said. "They are trying to invest in agencies for the long term and offer a better chance to improve the quality of life for those who live in the communities they serve."

In addition to selected local agencies, United Way will continue to support its seven affiliated organizations: the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Associated Jewish Charities, Associated Black Charities, Associated Catholic Charities and Community Health Charities.

The university's financial goal for the 2006 campaign is $1,228,000. In terms of the impact areas, that dollar figure, Bossle noted, could provide 14,172 children from low-income families with education on nutrition and fitness; 1,967 families with counseling to prevent foreclosure on their homes; 5,903 abused or neglected children with counseling; and 1,773 teens with education to prepare for their futures, improve their self-esteem and stay away from drugs.

The Johns Hopkins Medicine campaign, for the third year in a row, will be confined to a two-week period, beginning Oct. 9. Its goal is $1.3 million.

Patty Brown last week at Johns Hopkins Medicine's United Way leadership breakfast.
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS

Patricia Brown, chair of Johns Hopkins Medicine's campaign and president of Johns Hopkins Health Care, said that she wants to focus on participation and, like the university's campaign, emphasize the impact of each dollar contributed.

"We want people to really understand how they can help the community with their donations," said Brown, who recently became a board member of United Way of Central Maryland.

Like Bossle, Brown thinks the organization's new approach is a bold one, and worth trying.

"I'm thrilled with what they are doing," she said. "There is a new level of energy and excitement at United Way. These guys are serious about this."

The Applied Physics Laboratory's campaign began on Sept. 11 and will conclude Oct. 11.

Sharon Warner, chair of the campaign and managing executive of the Lab's Business Services Department, said that APL did not set a financial goal this year but wants to focus on reaching out to the staff and on Day of Caring projects, with a goal of 55 events and 500 participation hours at or for local United Way agencies.

"Our focus is on educating people and giving them the right info to make an informed decision," Warner said. "Our ambassadors will go out to the groups and tell the United Way story. The low-key approach of just mailing out pledge forms is not working. You really need to reach out."

Bossle and a small team of Johns Hopkins employees last Tuesday reached out to the community by participating in United Way's "Share Yourself Makeover Challenge," which invited six major area employers to help renovate the East Baltimore headquarters of Healthy Start, a United Way agency that offers client-oriented core services to the area's pregnant women and infants.

The eight-member Johns Hopkins team, led by Bossle and Jim Zeller, vice provost for budgets, helped make over the agency's lobby and reception area as part of the full-day effort.

"This was the perfect place for Johns Hopkins to help," Bossle said. "This wonderful agency serves children in the shadow of our East Baltimore campus and fits in so closely with its mission."

For more information on the Johns Hopkins campaigns, go to


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