Yale United Way campaign focuses on giving ‘on common ground, for the common good’

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Among those on hand at the Yale United Way Campaign Kick-off were (from left) Yale President Peter Salovey; New Haven Mayor Toni Harp; Jennifer Heath, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater New Haven; and Michael Morand, head of Yale’s fundraising drive.

President Peter Salovey drew from New Haven and Yale’s long history to kick off the 2016-2017 Yale United Way campaign with a message on Oct. 17 to faculty and staff, celebrating the annual campus-wide effort as part of  “a long tradition of local residents uniting to give on common ground, for the common good.”

As he noted, this year marks the 300th anniversary of the decision on Oct. 17, 1716, of the trustees of the then-collegiate school to permanently locate the institution in New Haven, setting the stage for the growth and development of Yale University over the past three centuries.

“Back then, citizens of greater New Haven joined together to support the college, with subscriptions totaling between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds of sterling in the day’s currency and eight acres of land,” Salovey wrote, “Today, all of us who live and work in greater New Haven have the opportunity to join in support of our community and our neighbors through United Way of Greater New Haven. Just as 18th-century citizens united to support the nascent college, we who work at Yale can come together in 2016 for the benefit of our hometown.”

Yale staff and faculty have increasingly recognized the value of United Way as an effective means to invest their charitable contributions to support the community and strengthen education, income, and health in greater New Haven. The 2015 campaign raised a record total $1.359 million, a total that represents a 38% growth in contributions over five years since 2011. Yale United Way organizers say that participation has increased across campus, with notable growth in the medical campus as well as West Campus.

These contributions by Yale faculty and staff are an important part of United Way’s overall work in the region. As Salovey wrote, “More than one in four of all dollars raised for United Way of Greater New Haven come from our Yale workplace campaign, so our collective effort truly matters.”

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp joined Salovey and United Way of Greater New Haven President and CEO Jennifer Heath for an evening reception for campus United Way champions on Oct. 17 at the New Haven Museum. She spoke about the positive impact of United Way and its importance for youth and their families, citing its work in addressing trauma as one example of why such work matters. Harp also pointed out that United Way leverages other funding, so dollars invested with it have even more impact. She encouraged the champions in their work, both to urge new donors to participate and to encourage long-time donors to consider increasing their pledges this year.

“We know that greater New Haven is full of people and organizations committed to helping others. We also know that, if we continue to work on our own, our individual, separate efforts won’t add up to the widespread progress we all want for our community,” Heath told Yale United Way champions. “We’ve learned that the key to social change is how we work together.  If we work in a ‘united way,’ we can change what’s possible for the children, families, and individuals in our community.  Together, we can solve problems that no one organization can solve alone.”

Yale staff, faculty, students, retirees, and alumni are all encouraged to visit the Yale United Way campaign homepage to learn more and to participate in this year’s effort: http://unitedway.yale.edu/.

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