Nearly 2,000 donate more than $700,000 in United Way campaign

With its 2021-22 United Way campaign officially wrapped up, the Pitt community saw 1,898 faculty, staff and retirees donate a total of $702,602.

While the total fell short of the $750,000 goal when the campaign started in October, Pitt’s average gift of $339 set a University record as did the median gift of $100. Pitt retirees also made an impressive showing with $75,609 in donations, a nearly $24,000 increase since 2018.  

Funds raised by those affiliated with Pitt support United Way-sponsored programs and services, including its 211 call center, outreach to domestic violence survivors and intellectually disabled adults as well as families and seniors, Pittwire reported on June 22.

“Participation in the United Way workplace campaign aligns with Pitt’s mission as a public university, with community service and engagement central to our purpose,” Dave DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations and chair of next year’s campaign, told Pittwire. “The campaign brings staff and faculty together to aid local organizations and community members, making meaningful, lasting differences in the communities we serve.”

Here is a breakdown on how the Oakland campus stepped up for the most recent campaign:

  • Total raised: $682,211

  • Faculty and staff pledges: $590,763

  • Average leadership gifts: $2,107 (record)

  • Retiree pledges: $75,609 (record)

  • New donors: 320

  • Vacation time donated: 363 hours

The Pitt community contributed time and talents to the organization this year, as reported by Pittwire, in the following ways:

  • Faculty and students volunteered time in the Free Tax Prep program for low-income people, completing 291 tax returns.
  • James Huguley, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the School of Social Work, contributed to the United for Children’s Equity Evaluation;
  • Kate Ulreich, an IT consultant, served on the Be STEMtacular Advisory Committee.

The campaign got underway Oct. 6, 2021, with a collection drive for cleaning and baby supplies in front of the William Pitt Union. With a goal set at $750,000, Adam Baron of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, told University Times the campaign launched with “tremendous support,” noting that Pitt makes an ideal entity for fulfilling United Way goals.

“We work with partners like University of Pittsburgh to make decisions on which agencies we’re supporting, which agencies are fiscally responsible,” he told Faculty Assembly. “Those that are creative and innovative and have ideas about what can we do to really get people out of crisis and assist them.”

The partnership, he added, goes beyond contributions. “We’re connecting with different departments to ask for your expertise, your advice, to collaborate with your leadership and with individuals at the University.”

Since the COVID pandemic, Baron told University Times that United Way has “hyper-focused” its attention on:

  • Meeting basic needs for food, shelter, transportation, vaccinations, utilities and more.

  • Helping individuals in crisis move toward financial stability, including helping with payments, car repairs and other one-time assistance meant to get them back on track and maintain stability.

  • Building toward success in school and life by making sure children in preschool through high school have the resources they need to stay on track, particularly during the pandemic.

Pitt’s next United Way campaign kicks off on Oct. 3. Find more information on volunteering on the Pitt United Way website. Staff and faculty can record up to eight hours per month on their timecard for volunteer service, with supervisor approval.

“In the coming year, we will share new ideas, tools and resources to support the campaign, joining together to show our collective impact,” DeJong told Pittwire.

— Shannon O. Wells


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