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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 7, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 16
United Way Effort Brings In $2 Million

More than $164,000 is earmarked for helping neighbors

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Spurred on by a new way of giving, employees and students from the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine pledged more than $2 million to the 2007 United Way of Central Maryland campaign, which by most measures was a resounding success.

The campaign this year featured the new 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, which was created to assist community-oriented organizations and agencies that may not currently receive United Way funding.

The fund, seeded with a $20,000 donation from the President's Office, helped raise more than $164,000. A committee representing a cross section of Johns Hopkins employees will be formed early this year to oversee the allocation of the fund, which focuses on five key areas: health, education, public safety, employment and community strengthening.

Charlene Hayes, vice president for human resources, said that the response to the Neighborhood Fund exceeded expectations and likely helped the overall campaign top its goal of $1,992,510.

The $2,058,166 raised represents a total for contributions from all university divisions except the School of Advanced International Studies, 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.

Asked to explain the success of the Neighborhood Fund, Hayes said that it highlighted the need to support the communities where JHU employees work.

"I think people saw the need to sustain these neighborhoods, and it gave them another reason to contribute. They drive in these neighborhoods every day and see how great the needs are in some areas," Hayes said. "People who might not usually give threw in their support. The reception to this way of giving has been marvelous."

The Homewood Student Council, spurred on by President William R. Brody's challenge gift, raised $500 and obtained 500 signatures on a banner in support of the Neighborhood Fund.

Hayes said the money will begin to be distributed this fall, following the recommendations of the soon-to-be-formed committee.

United Way of Central Maryland supports human service agencies in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. With donations still filtering in, $1,291,481 was pledged to the university's campaign, which kicked off Oct. 22 and officially ended Dec. 14.

The university hosted a series of events to highlight the campaign, including the JHU Community Block Party, Chili Cook-Off and National Community Service Day, a daylong event in which employees volunteered at several local agencies.

In September, Johns Hopkins employees took part in the Share Yourself Makeover Challenge II, a regional effort in which several major area employers were invited to help renovate and equip the YMCA of Central Maryland's Owen Brown Child Care Center in Howard County. A six-member team from the university, joined by Baltimore Ravens players, helped transform the center's room for 2- year-olds.

Divisions and departments also hosted special fund-raising events, such as Homewood Student Affairs' Stupid Pet Pics contest and a car wash hosted by members of Homewood Plant Operations.

James Zeller, chair of the university's campaign and vice provost for budgets, said that he "truly appreciated the efforts of the various departments in making the United Way campaign a fun and successful event."

Johns Hopkins Medicine launched its intensive two-week United Way effort on Oct. 15 and bested its goal of $1.35 million by approximately $250,000.

Since participation historically had been relatively low in the School of Medicine, the JHM campaign this year sought to actively involve departmental leadership, coordinators and ambassadors. Pictures of the leaders with this year's slogan, "We're 100 Percent Behind United Way," were e-mailed to employees, featured on hall posters and projected at faculty and staff meetings.

Joanne Pollak, chair of the JHM campaign and vice president and general counsel for Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that departments also held a "friendly competition" to see who had the highest increase in participation and dollars raised. The top three in increased participation were Otolaryngology, Emergency Medicine and Orthopaedics. Otolaryngology and Emergency Medicine also had the largest increases in dollars raised, along with the Department of Medicine.

"We are very thankful to everyone who responded in this year's campaign and allowed Johns Hopkins Medicine to surpass its goal," Pollak said. "We are particularly proud of the departments that had significant increases in percentages of participation and dollars raised."

Pollak specifically thanked two Johns Hopkins Hospital employees, Susan Franklin and Kevin Schoenfeld, who shared their United Way stories in an effort to draw support for the campaign. Franklin was rescued by a United Way volunteer fireman after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and found her way to Baltimore with the help of United Way agencies. Schoenfeld's life was changed dramatically through a United Way rehabilitation program in East Baltimore.

"They helped make the United Way story real for people through their talks and videos," Pollak said. "We really appreciate their efforts."

Two of the university's 15 United Way–designated units far exceeded their goal: Homewood Student Affairs and the School of Medicine. Of special note in this year's campaign, the School of Medicine bested its goal by 36 percent, raising $788,518. Homewood Student Affairs had the highest participation rate, 49 percent, and raised $29,988. The Carey Business School had the second-highest participation rate, 47 percent.

Overall, Johns Hopkins doubled its number of leadership members--a designation for those who donate $1,000 or more--to 818. The total participation rate in the campaign was 17.5 percent.

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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