‘Paying it forward’: Number of Yale donors to United Way campaign jumps 12.5%

Yale University faculty and staff once again showed their support for the New Haven community through increased participation in United Way of Greater New Haven’s “Give Every Child a Chance” campaign.

Yale’s workforce has long been among the region’s most generous when it comes to supporting United Way’s work — and that tradition continued during the 2013-2014 campaign, which raised more than $1.18 million.

That money is already helping United Way connect young children and their families in the community to much-needed services: high-quality early care and education programs for infants and toddlers; educational opportunities for parents and families of young children to learn how best to support their children’s development; and increased access to quality child care options, among other initiatives.

The recent “Give Every Child a Chance” campaign marked an increase not only in dollars raised, but also in the number of Yale donors. During the 2013-2014 campaign, the number of people who gave jumped 12.5% from the previous year.

“I’m delighted to see that the Yale community has stepped forward to increase our support of United Way with increased participation and increased contributions,” said campaign co-chair Dr. Robert Alpern, dean of the Yale School of Medicine. “Given the state of the economy, the community has so many needs. The increased support shows that the Yale community acknowledges their role in helping the community to address its many issues.”

Yale employees know that the region’s well-being is essential to the university’s vitality, and they care about helping the community around them, said campaign co-chair Kim Goff-Crews, the university’s secretary and vice president for student life.

“We may work at Yale but all of us care about New Haven and so many of us live in New Haven too,” she said. “It’s not just the university as an institution, it’s really the people of the institution who are giving of themselves. We’re paying it forward.”

In addition to their financial contributions, many Yale employees also gave their time. This year’s campaign  featured various volunteer activities, including one in which several Human Resources employees conducted mock job interviews at STRIVE New Haven, a workforce training agency. The sessions aimed to give local job seekers, many of whom face various barriers to employment, the help and confidence they need to re-enter the workforce — thereby setting them on a path toward self-sufficiency.

University-wide, the Yale School of Management (SOM) had the highest participation rate and raised the largest amount of money among faculty and staff. SOM employees gave a total of more than $249,000, up 27% from the previous year. Also, nearly 25% of SOM faculty and staff made contributions, more than double the previous year’s participation rate.

Barry Nalebuff, the Milton Steinbach Professor of Management and a campaign champion, attributed SOM’s success largely to personal appeals for donations.

“United Way takes the lead in supporting local institutions that New Haven desperately needs, everything from soup kitchens to programs for public schools  — such as Boost!, which provides non-academic ‘wraparound’ services to support student success,” Nalebuff said. “New Haven is the community where we all work and many of us live. For that reason alone it is important for us to support those who are working to help make a difference in New Haven.”

Nalebuff also matched SOM donors’ contributions, something that had a huge impact, according to SOM director of development Kathtleen Brown-Dorato, another campaign champion.

“It inspired both past donors to increase their level of giving and new donors to step forward,” she said. “What an amazing opportunity to make an impact on the Greater New Haven community.”