UR launched its 2012 United Way Campaign this week, a subsidiary of the campaign begun by the United Way of Greater Rochester.

The United Way campaign collects donations from Rochester students, faculty, staff and affiliates f the University with the goal of addressing and conquering Rochester’s most critical issues.

The campaign aims to improve the lives of all types of different people living in Rochester by “making childhood more enriching, students more successful, old age more of a golden age, disabilities less debilitating and crisis less frightening,” according to its website.

Additionally, all the donors that pledge money before Feb. 29 are eligible for a drawing to win such prizes as a Barnes & Noble Nook tablet, an iPod touch and a variety of gift cards to local restaurants and businesses.

The United Way of Greater Rochester began in 1918, when a variety of local social service and war agencies began a fundraising campaign to provide help for soldiers and their families. Today, the organization has developed into an amalgamation of donors committed to making the Rochester community a better place to live.

In the 2011 fiscal year, the United Way of Greater Rochester collected — in revenue, gains and other support — roughly $37 million. The organization allocated $35 million to program services, community investment services, resource development and general management costs.

The UR United Way hopes to bolster the United Way of Greater Rochester’s charitable donation fund by contributing $1.4 million. Since President Joel Seligman announced UR’s commitment to the United Way of Greater Rochester campaign, the University has not yet donated any money to the fund this year.

UR faculty, staff, retirees and alumni join together annually to raise money for the United Way campaign.  In 2006, the University donated roughly $1.2 million and between 2006 and 2010, it donated $1.3 million annually.  This year’s pledge of $1.4 million dollars is the largest one yet.

As the administration progresses toward its goal of creating a college town in the neighborhoods surrounding the River Campus, the pledge to the United Way campaign reflects UR’s commitment to support and nourish local communities.

The University’s United Way website lists a variety of testimonies from annual donors. Jay Riley, a member of the University’s IT staff, writes that his “daughter was developmentally delayed in learning to walk” and with the help of the United Way of Greater Rochester she was able to strengthen her legs and gain mobility.

Students are supportive of UR’s involvement with United Way.

“I think that our school gets a good amount of money from alumni,” sophomore Lauren Sava said. “And giving to the [United Way of Greater Rochester] seems like a good thing.”

Junior Joel Allen agreed.

“Having grown up in Rochester, I think it’s a good thing that our school is trying to give back to local neighborhoods and communities,” he said.

Junior Cindy Zu sees the campaign as essentially “killing two birds with one stone.”

“In helping local communities, the University and Rochester itself become more desirable,” she said.

Volkov is a member of the class of 2012.



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