WMU United Way launches 2018 campaign with $200,000 goal, children's book drive

Contact: Deanne Puca
Drawing of a stack of books with an apple on top, five children next to it, and the words Book-It Change a Child's Story and the WMU W beneath.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's 2018 United Way Campaign is underway, with faculty and staff expected to receive their pledge cards by the beginning of October.

President Edward Montgomery announced its goal of $200,000 at a gathering of supporters Sept. 20.

The event also marked the launch of a children's book drive to jump-start the collection of 2,000 new or gently used books throughout the University community for students in kindergarten through the third grade. The "Book-It" drive benefits a similar effort organized by the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. Collection boxes will be available in buildings throughout campus Monday, Oct. 8, through Wednesday, Oct. 31. Books for the campaign also may be purchased from an Amazon wish list.

Monetary donations also are accepted online.

The campus campaign exceeded both its $200,000 and book collection goals in 2017.

"When we talk about what this campus is about, we're about changing lives; and you do that every day," Montgomery told a group of about 30 campus campaign champions. "The United Way is an extension of that. In ways big and small, you are making a difference."

The local United Way emphasizes education as one of its four primary areas to improve the well-being of people in the region in its campaign to "Change the Story." The four overarching goals are to:

  • Improve high school graduation rates,
  • Increase the number of economically stable households,
  • Improve family and infant health and reducing racial and economic disparities, and
  • Provide a safety net to help individuals and families access basic necessities in times of need.

For reasons of privacy, once University faculty and staff receive their pledge cards, they should be returned directly to WMU United Way Campaign, Office of the President, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49008-5202.

Any new, undesignated gift of at least $50 automatically enters a person into a drawing for up to $25,000 applied to a car of choice from one of the sponsoring dealerships. To be included in this special thank-you drawing, pledge forms must be received at the WMU Office of the President by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. The winner will be announced by the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.