University Exceeds United Way Goal

December 01, 2010 - News Release

For the second year in a row, the University of Guelph community has donated more than $500,000 to the United Way of Guelph-Wellington.

The campus campaign ended today with a total of $512,892 in gifts and pledges. "The generosity of this U of G community continues to amaze and inspire me,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “It’s a proud day for me. My sincerest thanks to everyone for their commitment and support."

The total was announced today by Guelph-Wellington campaign chair Marva Wisdom at an appreciation event held on campus for the volunteers who run the University’s annual fundraising drive. Wisdom, a local businesswoman and graduate of Guelph's MA (Leadership) program, said she was proud to be a U of G alumna.

“You don’t have to give to the greater Guelph community," she said. "You don’t have to care if someone sleeps on the street or if a child goes to school without breakfast. You don’t have to run a United Way campaign, but you do ─ because you care."

The county-wide campaign hopes to raise $2.7 million this year. “Your contribution will be huge in helping us reach that goal,” Wisdom said. “On behalf of the whole Guelph community, my thanks to you are from the heart.”

The U of G fundraising effort was co-chaired by Jennifer Beehler, secretary to the chair of the Department of Clinical Studies; Prof. Alan Sullivan, Plant Agriculture; and fourth-year commerce student Vanessa Young. More than 150 people ─ faculty, staff, students and retirees ─ served as United Way co-ordinators, canvassers and event organizers.

Beehler, who concludes three years as a campus co-chair, issued her own thanks to volunteers and donors: “Because of people like you, people who just want to do good for the sake of doing it, I’ve seen what generosity looks like.”

She added that a few United Way events haven’t been completed, so the 2010 total is expected to rise before the books are closed later this month.

A number of awards were presented at the recognition event. Wisdom presented the President’s Award, which recognizes the campus unit with the highest increase in both participation and dollars raised, to the College of Arts, which increased donations by 22 per cent over last year.

The Gabrielle Hubert Award for outstanding contributions by an individual volunteer went to Premila Sathasivam, a volunteer in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences.

The University of Guelph Library 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 Prof. Jim Atkinson, Animal and Poultry Science, who previously served three years as campus co-chair and worked this year with retiree and faculty groups.

In addition, a number of “Pat-on-the-Back” awards and certificates of appreciation 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 third College Idol competition organized by the Office of Research as a United Way fundraiser. Eight competitors performed at a noon luncheon event Oct. 28; voting was by donations to the United Way. The 2010 winner is Chris Earley, the Arboretum’s interpretive biologist and education co-ordinator.

“It’s amazing that we have a university where someone doing bird calls could become the College Idol,” he said and then treated the United Way volunteers to the rare singing call of a winter wren.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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