U of G Raises $517,723 for United Way, Exceeds Goal

December 02, 2009 - News Release

The University of Guelph has raised $517,723 for the United Way, exceeding its 2009 campaign goal by more than $17,000. President Alastair Summerlee announced the total today at an appreciation event for the volunteers who run the University's annual United Way campaign.

“On behalf of all the people this money will help in the city and the county, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your astonishing generosity,” said Summerlee, who chairs the overall Guelph and Wellington United Way campaign. The county-wide campaign, which ends Dec. 9, aims to raise $2.65 million.

Eighty community programs in Guelph and Wellington County receive financial support from the United Way, and more than 60,000 people are helped every year.

“We were a bit nervous when we announced a half-million-dollar goal back in September,” said University co-chair Jennifer Beehler, who is secretary to the chair of the Department of Clinical Studies, “but the need in our community is so great and the desire to help is so strong on this campus, we knew we had to shoot for a new record. Once again, the University of Guelph community has surpassed our expectations.” She added that a few United Way events haven’t been completed, so the 2009 total is expected to rise before the books are closed later this month.

The 2009 campaign success continues the University’s long tradition of United Way support. In the last decade, U of G employees, students and retirees have donated more than $3.64 million through the annual campus campaign.

“Many of the volunteers who achieved this year’s success have also been part of those earlier United Way campaigns,” said co-chair Jim Atkinson, a professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. The 2009 campaign enlisted 150 volunteers as co-ordinators and canvassers. Many other people ─ including a sizeable contingent of students ─ helped to organize and run special events that supported the University’s fundraising efforts, said Atkinson. “They’ve done a fantastic job.”

Student co-ordinators for the 2009 campaign are Nathan Lachowsky, a fourth-year student in biological science, and Jason Greenberg, who is in his third year of a BA program in statistics. Student contributions to the United Way effort exceeded $5,000.

A number of awards were presented at the recognition event. Summerlee presented the President’s Award, which recognizes the campus unit with the highest increase in both participation and dollars raised, to the Office of Open Learning. The Gabrielle Hubert Award for outstanding contributions by an individual volunteer went to Prof. Peter Krell, Molecular and Cellular Biology. The Office of Registrarial Services received the Spirit Award, which goes to a unit that exceeds its goal, achieves a five-per-cent increase in participation and demonstrates enthusiasm and creativity in its fundraising effort. The Co-Chairs Award for special merit went to Rhonda Alger, Animal and Poultry Science. In addition, 11“Pat-on-the-Back” awards were presented to individuals and units for making an extra effort in this year’s United Way campaign.

A highlight of the volunteer event was the announcement of results from the second College Idol competition organized by the Office of Research as a United Way fundraiser. Six competitors performed at a noon luncheon event Oct. 30; voting continued until Nov. 25 through donations to the United Way. The 2009 winner is Robert Berger, a pianist and student in the Ontario Veterinary College. The event raised more than $3,000.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca

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