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February 20, 2013

United Way aims to build a better Rochester

Give It Your BestWhen University philanthropist and Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman helped found the Com­munity Chest in 1918, he knew the positive impact collective giving could have on a community.

Nearly 100 years later, the organization, now known as the United Way, continues to be one of the most effective ways to help the Rochester community.

The University hopes to build on Eastman’s legacy of giving by raising $1.54 million for the United Way through its workplace campaign.

University President Joel Seligman, 2013 campaign chair for the United Way of Greater Rochester, says gifts to United Way are vitally important to the community. “By working together though the United Way campaign, we are helping to revitalize Rochester for the 21st century,” Seligman says. “Our support ensures that our giving has a direct impact by focusing on our community’s most pressing priorities.”

The Community Fund at work

Donations to the community fund help support proven pro­grams that seek to do the most good in the community.

The four areas of focus are

  • Meeting Basic Needs—En­suring people have access to food, clothing, shelter, and transportation
  • Giving Babies the Best Start—Supporting in-home parenting support and education as well as early screening and interven­tion to help babies become physically and emotionally ready to learn when they enter school
  • Preparing Kids for Suc­cess—Making sure every young person will be ready for college, work, and life, with a focus on after-school learning and enrichment and mentoring programs.
  • Supporting Seniors and Caregivers—Enabling the growing population of older adults to remain independent

New this year

Beginning this year, all agen­cies receiving funds through United Way have agreed to share fundraising costs on the total dollars they receive from United Way. The cost shar­ing will allow United Way to continue its commitment to efficiency, financial stewardship of donor’s dollars, convenience, accountability, and focus on solving the community’s most pressing social issues.

Ninety-two cents of every contributed dollar is used to meet community needs.

If you designate a gift to a particular agency, the agency will be informed of the full amount of your gift, and you are able to claim the full amount of the gift for tax pur­poses, as you have in the past. Because agencies have agreed to help carry the costs of fund­raising and that cost will be as­sessed against the total amount each agency receives, a portion of your gift, in effect, will be used to cover those costs.

“Giving to the United Way is the most efficient way to advance our community,” says Andrea DeMeo, chair of the University’s United Way Campaign. “The United Way is not about just supporting a ‘cause’—it’s about strategically targeting the root causes of societal issues.”

Give early

The ePledge system (www.rochester.edu/unitedway/epledge.html), a confiden­tial online donation tool, is available to University faculty and staff. Paper pledge forms also can be downloaded from the University’s United Way website, www.rochester.edu/unitedway.

Pledge before Feb. 28 and you’ll be eligible for a prize drawing. You’ll also be invited to the campaign kickoff break­fast featuring the Midnight Ramblers a cappella group at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Flaum Atrium at the Medical Center. Call 224-2871 or send an email to uwco@hr.rochester.edu to RSVP. (Note: Continuous pledge donors are also considered “early” donors and, therefore, are welcome to RSVP for the free kickoff breakfast and are already included in the prize drawing.)

Six reasons to give

It’s the most efficient way to advance the common good.
A gift to the United Way is an investment in the common good. All of us have individual causes that we support, but United Way isn’t about a “cause.” It’s about the common good. And no local charitable organization does that as efficiently and cost-effectively as United Way.

United Way strategically targets the root causes of societal issues.
The social challenges our community faces—violence, both neighborhood and domestic; poverty; low graduation rates; and ever-increasing numbers of older adults and their caregivers—are incredibly complex and interrelated. These are not single, isolated issues. And there are no single, easy solutions. Your gift will be applied to programs that are addressing the root causes of these problems.

United Way focuses on prevention and early intervention
An investment in United Way is an investment in Rochester’s future. United Way focuses its funding on preven­tion and early intervention programs in four key areas: basic needs, early education, school-age youth, and older adults. Nearly 45 percent of funding goes to programs for children and youth at risk.

United Way invests in programs that have been proven to work; not simply in agencies that do “good work.”
By focusing on evidence-based programs and promising practices with demonstrated results, United Way ensures that every gift is invested wisely and well. An example of an evidence-based program is the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), a home visitation parent education program targeted to low income, first-time pregnant women and their children. Backed by more than 20 years of research at the University, NFP has demonstrated reduced child abuse and neglect, fewer child mental health problems, fewer subsequent pregnancies, and less reliance on public welfare.

United Way holds agencies accountable for measurable results.
United Way monitors quarterly the programs it funds to ensure that intended results are being achieved. But it also evaluates its overall funding strategies to ensure that progress is being made holistically.

United Way is reducing duplication.
United Way is committed to reducing duplication of administrative structure and service overlap among non­profits. In the past three years, United Way facilitated 18 agency mergers or program consolidations. Six other attempts at consolidation were unsuccessful; four affiliations are in progress.

Source: University’s United Way website, www.rochester.edu/unitedway

 

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