West Virginia University kicks off its 2012 United Way campaign today with a goal of $330,000.

WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen will serve as the chair for the 30th annual campaign. This year’s theme is “30 Years of Giving United.” The campaign, which lasts eight weeks, will wrap up on Nov. 9.

“When I came to Morgantown, I knew instantly that West Virginians are a caring people,” Holgerson said. “No matter what problems we face, our neighbors always have our backs. Our United Way campaign is a testament to this caring nature.

“Across the 30-year history of this campaign, WVU has never let our community down—and I’m confident we won’t this year. I hope you will join the efforts.”

All contributions for WVU’s United Way campaign stay local, as the money is donated to 29 different organizations in Monongalia and Preston Counties that assist people with healthcare, childcare, youth mentoring, senior programs, mental health programs, disaster response initiatives and healthy lifestyle initiatives, among others. These agencies, however, do not have the resources for large fundraising campaigns and rely on WVU’s United Way campaign each year for additional funding.

Employees interested in making a contribution should complete the pledge form and return them to their unit team captain or call 304-293-8761. For more information, log onto http://unitedway.wvu.edu/.

The entire campaign’s goal In Monongalia and Preston Counties is more than $1.4 million. WVU would like to gather more than one-fifth of the funds with the $330,000 goal.

“Each year at this this time, the WVU family takes the opportunity to collectively show the importance of our partnership with the surrounding community. It is hard sometimes for us to know exactly what is needed in the area; the United Way provides the ability to give money that will then be distributed to programs that are developed each year based on our community needs,” said Dr. Kristi Wood-Turner, director of WVU’s Center for Civic Engagement

WVU’s donations help provide:

  • 19,000 nights of shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness
  • 50,695 prescriptions for uninsured individuals
  • 5,288 hours of one-on-one mentoring for children
  • 2,444 hot meals at local soup kitchen

To help raise money for the United Way campaign, students are selling “Gold Rush” t-shirts for the annual “Gold Rush” football game, which will be Nov. 17 against Oklahoma.

For the first time, short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts are available. Short-sleeve shirts are $10, long-sleeve shirts are $15. They will be available through Nov. 17 at various locations across campus and Morgantown. For more information on the t-shirts, check out: http://unitedway.wvu.edu/goldrush.

Last year, a record 5,400 shirts were sold and raised more than $22,000 for the Student United Way campaign.

“Each gift, large or small, is important. Our United Way team is made up of people from all walks of life – all working to make life better for others,” said Student Government Association Vice President and Student Chair Jarred Zuccari. “Let’s help show that WVU students really care about this community and that we consider it our home. We hope you will join us and help us make a difference.”

This is the fifth year that students will be actively involved in raising money for United Way. Last year, the student body raised more than $40,000. SGA is asking student organizations to make donations.

“Students are innovative, excited, and full of inspiration. We are thrilled that the commitment from our student body through the SGA continues to grow with each campaign,” Wood-Turner said.

In addition, WVU will hold a four-mile faculty and staff run/walk called “Mountaineers Run United” for a second year. It will take place on Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. The run/walk will start in front of the Mountainlair and finish inside Milan Puskar Stadium.

Register for the run/walk online by Oct. 19 at https://teamunitedway.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=27. T-shirts are limited to the first 150 people who register. Registration will also take place on the day of the event in the Law Center parking lot.

Employees who contribute $72 or more are eligible to win a yearly parking pass or men’s basketball games. Those who donate $120 or more can win two tickets to a performing arts series performance. Those who donate $240 or more are eligible to win a single, year-long membership to the WVU Student Recreation Center. First-time givers who give at least $72 can win a gift certificate to dinner for two.

Employees contributing at least $750 to the United Way are considered members of the Leadership Giving Association, and those names will be published in The Dominion Post. In addition, they will receive an invitation to a special United Way recognition reception and a special holiday.

Last year, WVU raised a record $335,100 for the campaign. For four straight years, the University’s United Way campaign has been recognized as the “Best of the Best” by the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. The honor is given to the campaign that truly lives the United Way’s message, which is to “give, advocate, volunteer and live united.”

WVU is the largest contributor to the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties with more than 1,400 contributors annually. WVU’s United Way campaign began in 1982 and has been conducted each year since.



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