University raises $100K for United Way

By Jill Power | The Duquesne Duke

Duquesne faculty and staff succeeded in surpassing their fall donation goal of $85,000 to the United Way of Allegheny County.

Approximately $104,929 was pledged by 516 participating employees before the campaign ended on Nov. 27. The amount was reached through payroll donations, personal donations and the support of individual schools and organizations on campus. The campaign began in early September.

United Way, established in 1887, collects funds for multiple organizations. These organizations range from the local level, such as food banks and homeless shelters, to national groups like the Girl Scouts of America.

Campaign chairperson Evan Stoddard, associate dean of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, said the University favors United Way because of how it distributes its funds.

“The United Way is the one organization that tries to address the most important problems in our community and doesn’t focus on just one area,” Stoddard said. “It does not attack problems directly itself; it’s an organization through which an individual can donate to many different organizations,” Stoddard said.

According to United Way employee Allie Browne, who is responsible for Duquesne’s account with the organization, United Way of Allegheny County distributes its donations primarily to groups involving children, financially-struggling families, the elderly and other at-risk groups in Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas. These are known as “critical needs” categories.

“The employees within the companies designate where they would like their donations to go,” Browne said.

Neither Stoddard nor Browne could say for certain how many years Duquesne has been donating to the organization, but Browne said it has been for “at least the past 10 years.”

Duquesne donated the $104,929 to the organization’s Impact Fund, which involves a more rigorous application process, as well as a monitoring of the receiving organization’s use of the funds.

“Agencies will submit program ideas to us based upon critical needs [United Way has] identified in Allegheny County,” Browne said. “Once they are approved, we give them a certain amount of dollars for three years to implement into their program.”

Organizations that receive funding from the Impact Fund are required to report their use of the funds throughout the three years that United Way is assisting them.

While a majority of the funds raised were due to individual donations, groups on campus contributed to the campaign as well. According to Stoddard, the education and nursing schools each organized their own fundraisers.

The men’s basketball team also donated a portion of their ticket sales on their Nov. 9 game against Abilene Christian to the University’s campaign.