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Final week of campus United Way campaign

Oct. 28, 2008

KALAMAZOO--In the final week of its annual United Way campaign, Western Michigan University is three-quarters of the way to its $225,000 goal.

The campus drive, which officially kicked off Oct. 1, will end Oct. 31. In an e-mail message sent to faculty, staff and retirees earlier this week, WMU President John M. Dunn encouraged everyone who hasn't yet given to submit a gift or pledge of any amount during the final week of fund raising.

"I am fully aware that the current state of the economy has made it more difficult to make ends meet," Dunn wrote. "But, there are others in our community with far fewer resources from which to draw. United Way agencies are there every day of the year to provide support for our neediest and most vulnerable citizens."

Donations and pledges made to the Greater Kalamazoo United Way go to fund programs administered by area agencies such as Gryphon Place, Community Healing Centers, Community Advocates for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Family and Children Services, Ministry with Community and many other organizations that help empower the people of Kalamazoo and create positive change in the community.

Craig Smith, WMU's campus United Way representative, says there have been many success stories in this year's campaign. Among them, he cites more than 70 new contributors and 350 donors who have increased the amount of their gifts compared to one year ago. Some 1,150 WMU employees and retirees have given so far this year, and for the first time ever, students have stepped up to get involved in the fund-raising efforts.

"We are impressed with the level of engagement of everyone who has gotten involved. But it's not over yet," says Bob Beam, chair of the campus campaign and vice president emeritus of business and finance at WMU. "We cannot and will not lose momentum now."

More than 70 percent of the cards distributed on and off campus this year have yet to be returned. WMU's United Way Advisory Board would like to see that number shrink before they declare the campaign officially closed.

The campus drive is part of Greater Kalamazoo United Way's $10.9 million overall campaign. Visit Greater Kalamazoo United Way online to learn more about the local organization and its partner agencies. For additional or replacement pledge cards, contact the WMU United Way Advisory Board at wmu-united-way@wmich.edu.

Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

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