WKU boosting United Way donation goals

Katherine Wade

WKU faculty and staff are halfway through a four-week campaign to raise money for the United Way of Southern Kentucky.

The United Way of Southern Kentucky is a non-profit organization that supports 14 local agencies and 17 programs throughout Warren County, focusing on serious issues such as poverty, abuse, disabilities and youth development.

Last year, more than 440 faculty and staff gave to the local United Way, totaling $55,712 in donations.

This year, the goal is to increase both of those numbers by 10 percent.

In an email to faculty and staff, President Gary Ransdell urged faculty and staff to participate in the campaign.

“Deep within our core values as a university community is that of being an important community partner,” he wrote. “This includes supporting the United Way.”

A team of about 40 WKU faculty and staff has been working within their departments to encourage others to donate through payroll deduction.

Scott Taylor, assistant to the vice-president of Student Affairs, is also a United Way board member and chairperson of the WKU campaign team.

Taylor said the team members are responsible for distributing different pledge forms and promoting the campaign.

“The Western family has done a wonderful job responding to the needs of the community through this campaign,” he said.

Mandy Baker, director of Volunteering and Brand Management for the local United Way, said it is great for the organization to have a partnership with WKU.

“All kinds of things are going on across the campus to instill in people what it is to Live United,” she said.

Last weekend at the WKU football game, the United Way partnered with WKU Athletics to give out 3,000 “Live United” T-shirts and raise $1,700 in a “Pass the Bucket” fundraiser.

Baker said WKU is a huge part of southern Kentucky’s economy and population, and a lot of WKU faculty, staff and students use the United Way’s partner agencies, like the local Hospice or Salvation Army.

Philip Coleman, co-chair of the campaign team and assistant professor of Computer Information Systems, said he hopes to have a great campaign.

“There’s a lot of excitement about this,” he said. “I think people are starting to see the passion in United Way. We’ve all got jobs here and we ought to be supporting local agencies.”

Coleman said he thinks they will reach their goal.

“People are really generous,” he said. “You just have to ask them for it.”