UM’s 2012 United Way Campaign Surpasses $1 Million

Coral Gables (March 19, 2013) — Increased participation rates by several schools, colleges, and divisions combined with strong fundraising efforts from students helped push the University of Miami’s annual United Way campaign past the $1-million mark for the seventh year in a row.

Launched last September, UM’s 2012 campaign raised $1,100,631, making it one of the most successful university-based United Way fundraising drives in the nation.

“It was an all-round team effort,” said Nerissa Morris, vice president for human resources and United Way 2012 campaign chair. “Once again our institution has stepped up to the plate and demonstrated its willingness to provide visible and tangible support to an organization that makes an incredible difference in the lives of so many people.”

UM’s million-dollar fundraising total includes $413,165 in unrestricted donations, or fundraising dollars not designated to a specific cause, allowing the United Way to direct that money to where it is needed most.

The number of Leadership Donors—employees who donate 1 percent or more of their salary to the campaign—jumped from 264 to 326, a 23 percent increase.

Employee participation rates of 100 percent achieved by some departments were instrumental in the campaign’s success, Morris said.

Conducting demonstrations on how to make an online pledge, passing out literature on how donations help the local community, and making phone calls and sending emails to answer questions about the United Way were the key strategies employed by ambassadors within Student Affairs to achieve 100 percent participation in their division.

“Receiving that individualized attention made it so much more personal and meaningful, and it gave our employees an incentive to participate,” said Sarah N. Ho, assistant director of the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development, who served as the lead ambassador for the Division of Student Affairs.

UM students played a key role in the campaign’s success, selling T-shirts and generating funds through other efforts.

Children participating in the University of Miami’s Mini ’Canes Recreational Sports Camp donated the profits ($2,148) from their biweekly pizza lunches to the campaign.

Morris said that the campaign also succeeded because of the efforts of a strong support team that included Sarah Artecona, Yasmin Pedraza, George Kushner, and medical campus campaign co-chairs Dan Snyder, CEO of University of Miami Hospital; Richard Ballard, hospital administrator for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and University of Miami Hospital and Clinics;  Michael Gittelman, hospital administrator for Bascom Palmer Eye Institute;  and Steve Falcone, chief executive of the University of Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital and associate vice president for medical affairs.

Marking the official close of the campaign, President Donna E. Shalala hosted a reception at her new residence, the Ibis House, on February 26 to honor UM’s Leadership Donors as well as the many employee ambassadors who spearheaded United Way fundraising efforts in their respective units.


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