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Push needed in final week of United Way drive

Oct. 26, 2009

KALAMAZOO--With just one week of fundraising left in this year's campus United Way campaign, Western Michigan University is about 20 percent shy of its $240,000 goal.

The campus drive got off to a generous start at the beginning of the month, but according to Bob Beam, WMU vice president emeritus of business and finance and chair of the campus United Way campaign, the number of donations coming in has slowed in recent days. He and other campaign officials are hoping to see some substantial movement before the campus drive ends Oct. 31.

"It is important that we do what we can to help support the people of our community," Beam says, "and there are many great ways to do this. But, giving to United Way allows you to stretch your dollar. United Way helps dozens of Kalamazoo's most critical health and human service agencies work together to leverage funds and resources, putting millions of additional dollars back into the community each year."

In a message to students, employees and retirees, WMU President John M. Dunn urged the campus community to "Live United" this year, by doing everything it could to make sure the many needs of Kalamazoo County are met. It seems his words did not go unheard. According to United Way campaign associate Craig Smith, there have been 174 new contributors this year, and more than 308 who've increased the amount of their gifts compared to one year ago. Some 1,005 employees and retirees have pledged or contributed so far, and students have helped by hosting special fundraising events and selling United Way T-shirts.

But, the campaign is not over, and volunteers plan to continue to seek help from every corner of campus until it is.

"We still have a long way to go if we are going to reach our goal this year," Smith says. "I have confidence in the people of this University, and I believe that everyone will pull together to get there in the end."

WMU's campus drive is part of the Greater Kalamazoo United Way's $9.11 million overall campaign. Visit Greater Kalamazoo United Way online to learn more about the local organization and read local stories of transformation.

For information on making a gift, contact wmu-united-way@wmich.edu. Contributions can be made as one-time donations by cash, check or credit card, or as pledges, payable by payroll deduction, credit card or direct billing from United Way.

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

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