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November 9, 2017

Council of Women Donors Seeks to Increase Pitt Membership in Support of United Way

Women's Leadership Council group photo

The Women’s Leadership Council at Pitt held its leadership luncheon at the University Club on Oct. 24. Nearly 50 council members were in the audience for a keynote address by Kathy W. Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement, chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees, and co-chair of this year’s United Way campaign.

Through the years, Jinx Walton has met a number of Pitt staff members whose lives have been touched by the United Way, such as assistance in treating an illness or in recovering from a fire. “The more you learn about what they do, the more you want to support it,” said Walton, the University’s chief information officer, adding that the positive impact “hits home when you really see how it affects people personally.”

That’s where the Women’s Leadership Council has its greatest power as a key engine in Pitt’s overall United Way campaign, which aims to raise $713,000 this fall to support a variety of organizations through the United Way that provide assistance to local residents.

Walton heads this network of University women who have made an annual contribution of $1,000 or more to the United Way. This year the council hopes to increase its membership to 250 from the current 113. The Pitt participants are members of the third largest Women’s Leadership Council in the country, as part of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The council targets issues of importance to the group and supports them with both monetary contributions and volunteer activities, including aid for United for Women, a local fund that helps women in crisis regain stability in their lives.

“This council is a great way to focus on issues that may affect women in particular,” Walton said. “It gives you an opportunity to get more involved and see where you want to contribute.”

To encourage more Pitt women to join, members are holding a “Bring a Friend for Breakfast” event on Nov. 16 at the University Club. Other council events this fall and winter include a Dignity Bag Project to supply essential hygiene products to local women in need and an evening of meal preparation for homeless women in Uptown’s Bethlehem Haven. Members also participate in exclusive networking opportunities.

Council member Jennifer Woodward, associate vice provost for research operations, joined the Women’s Leadership Council half a dozen years ago.

“As a group, we have so much more ability and opportunity to help people in our community,” Woodward said. “It also helps to build a camaraderie and collaboration among folks at Pitt.”

Because she is a member of the boards of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and Dress for Success Pittsburgh, Woodward was able to make council members more aware of the work these groups do and provide a direct link between council members and the organizations.

“At Pitt, part of our mission is to promote service to our community,” Woodward explained.

Pitt women who donate $1,000 or more during the University’s United Way campaign are automatically made members of the Women’s Leadership Council. Male employees who donate that amount can also earn membership for female spouses, if desired. Those interested in joining can also take part in the recently created “step-up” donation program for women who wish to start with a $500 annual gift to the United Way and increase it to $1,000 across three or five years. Women who have already donated to the campaign but would like to raise their donation in order to join the leadership council can make a new donation or increase their earlier gift.

How to Give to the Pitt United Way Campaign

Paycheck deductions can be made by pledging a minimum of $2 per month. Deductions start in employees’ January 2018 pay. To enroll using paycheck deductions or to make a credit card or billed transaction online, Pitt employees should log in to the My Pitt Portal using their University computing account username and password. Click on the “Donate to the United Way” link in the upper-right corner of the page. From there, they can select their preferred method of giving. Pitt women who donate $1,000 or more during the University’s United Way campaign are automatically made members of the Women’s Leadership Council.

Pitt staff and faculty also can direct their contribution to the Impact Fund, through which the United Way channels support to local agencies that serve populations facing the most critical current needs.

Share Your Story

Have you given to the United Way and seen its impact? Have you been affected by a program sponsored by the United Way? Let us know, and the University Times may feature your story. Email us at


Marty Levine,, 412-758-4859


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 6

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