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Boost needed in final weeks of United Way campaign

Oct. 21, 2010

KALAMAZOO--With only a few weeks of fundraising left in this year's campus United Way campaign, Western Michigan University is about 30 percent shy of its $275,000 goal.

The campus drive got off to a generous start last month, but according to Dr. Joe Reish, dean of University Libraries and chair of the campus United Way campaign, the number of donations coming in has slowed. He and other campaign organizers are confident that WMU will meet its goal, but they have extended the campaign by one week to account for a sluggish economy.

Photo of WMU AFSCME employees, United Way.

"As employees of this great University, we are fortunate to have jobs, health care and future prospects," Reish says. "Others are less prosperous. The number of people seeking basic assistance through member agencies of the United Way has increased exponentially."

Consider these figures for Kalamazoo County:

  • Unemployment is at 13 percent--twice the rate of 2008.
  • Need for food assistance has almost doubled.
  • Homelessness has increased 55 percent.
  • 41 percent of the homeless are children.

Need is vast, and a struggling individual's or family's needs cannot always be met by a single group.

"Beyond shelter for a night, a homeless family needs help transitioning into permanent housing," says Cathi Mohan, resource development director for the Greater Kalamazoo United Way. "Beyond a meal today, they need education or training to secure a job in order to provide food and other basic needs."

This is the role of United Way. The Greater Kalamazoo United Way works with 40 local agencies to help those who are struggling meet immediate challenges, and makes sure they have the opportunities and resources they need to improve their lives long term.

"There are many great ways to invest in the welfare of this community," Reish says, "But giving to United Way increases your impact. By working with Kalamazoo's most critical health and human service providers, United Way can leverage resources, producing more sustainable results and putting millions of additional dollars into the community each year."

WMU's campus drive has generated close to $185,000 to date, all of which will be contributed to the Greater Kalamazoo United Way. Visit kalamazoounitedway.org to learn more about the organization's 40 local agencies and hear stories from people whose lives have been changed by the help they received from United Way.

On-campus fundraising will continue through Friday, Nov. 12. 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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400