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WMU tops United Way campaign goal

Nov. 20, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Although Western Michigan University remained shy of its goal when this year's campus United Way campaign officially ended, students, faculty, staff and retirees came together from all corners of campus and beyond to show their support for the greater Kalamazoo community, eventually surpassing their $225,000 target.

"Despite the uncertain financial times that have affected so many people, the University community stepped up to the plate and chose to make a statement," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "Through its investments of time, energy and money to support United Way, WMU said that people are our most important treasure and supporting our people is our priority--no matter what threatening clouds appear on the horizon."

Each fall, the University holds a campus drive to solicit pledges and one-time donations from faculty, staff and retirees. All campus contributions go to the Greater Kalamazoo United Way, and for every dollar given, 88 cents supports services, systems and local programs that improve the quality of life in Kalamazoo County.

With the ensuing financial crisis, campaign organizers worried that their job might prove to be more challenging than in recent years. But, that did not turn out to be the case. Nearly 1,600 employees and retirees gave a combined $243,013 this year, and even students stepped up to get involved in the fund-raising efforts.

"We've had more than more than 248 new contributors--people who have never made such a commitment before--and 300 who've increased the amount of their gifts compared to one year ago," says United Way campaign associate Craig Smith. "These are all signs of a hopeful, optimistic and committed community."

Dunn echoes Smith in expressing his pride for WMU's financial contribution, as well as its investment of time and talent.

"Thank you for investing in the potential of people and for making your statement about how to build a united community," Dunn says. "We may not know all that lies ahead of us, but we know without a doubt that this is a community that will continue to take care of its most valuable resource--its people."

WMU's campus drive officially kicked off Oct. 1 and contributes to the 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. Questions about the campus campaign may be directed to wmu-united-way@wmich.edu.

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

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