January 30, 2012

United Way campaign tops its goal

In a resounding show of support for the community’s needs, employees and students of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine pledged nearly $2.3 million to United Way of Central Maryland, topping the goal by $100,000.

More than $270,000 of the total was pledged to the 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.

The Neighborhood Fund was the second-largest designated organization of Johns Hopkins donors, behind only United Way of Central Maryland. A committee representing a cross section of university employees will meet in the near future to allocate the funds.

The overall $2,270,742 raised represents a total for contributions from all university divisions except SAIS, whose donations are reported to the National Capital Area campaign in Washington, D.C., and the Applied Physics Laboratory, which no longer publicly reports its financial goals and results. In 2010, the total raised was $2,179,464.

United Way of Central Maryland supports human service agencies in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. With donations still filtering in, $560,423 has been pledged to the university’s campaign, which kicked off Oct. 11 and officially ended Dec. 16.

Jerry Schnydman, executive assistant to the president and secretary of the board of trustees, chaired the university’s campaign for the second consecutive year. Schnydman said that he benefited from last year’s experience. “This allowed me to have a better understanding of the job and allowed us to put together a wonderful team of volunteers,” he said. “And the volunteers made it happen.”

The campaign featured several successful fundraising events, including Homewood Student Affairs’ Bingo, which raised more than $3,000, and the School of Arts
and Sciences’ Block Party, which raised $1,166.

Several of the university’s designated units far exceeded their goals and had record participation. Notably, Homewood Student Affairs surpassed its goal by $4,596. The highest participation rate came from the Office of Government and Community Relations, with 48 percent of staff making a pledge. The Carey Business School had the second-highest participation rate, with 43 percent of its 143 employees making a pledge.

Johns Hopkins Medicine launched its intensive two-week United Way effort in October and raised $1,710,319, exceeding its goal by nearly $70,000. The focus was access to healthy food, a topic that clearly resonated with those on the East Baltimore campus, said campaign chair Ted DeWeese.

“The issue of access to healthy food affects a lot of neighborhoods. We live in a city with so-called food deserts, where it’s not easy to walk a safe distance to find healthy and affordable food. But it’s not just here; it’s out in Carroll County and other places around the state,” said DeWeese, a professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences at the School of Medicine. “We were clearly able to link this issue to the work that goes on here, such as the research at the School of Medicine and School of Public Health.”

DeWeese said that the United Way coordinators in each department and division did an “extraordinary” job of putting forward the right message.

The overall campaign focused on funding 1,600 nonprofit organizations in Central Maryland that provide assistance in the basic-need areas. The 2011 theme was “Strive for Five,” which had a number of connotations. An employee could make a pledge of $5 per pay period, recruit five colleagues to donate, increase by 5 percent the amount normally contributed or choose another creative approach.

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 jhu.edu/unitedway.