Wesleyan Employees Encouraged to Give to Middlesex United Way

Wesleyan Employee Campaign co-chair Karen Warren says her family has benefited from a United Way agency for eight years.

Wesleyan Employee Campaign co-chair Karen Warren says her family has benefited from a United Way agency for eight years.

This month, Wesleyan employees have the opportunity to help their local community by participating in the university’s annual Middlesex United Way fundraising campaign.

Wesleyan staff and faculty members already received informational packets and department representatives are collecting funds for the organization.

“Although all of us have many organizations we support, our gifts to United Way raise Wesleyan’s collective voice in support of programs that help our Middlesex County neighbors in need,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth in an all-campus e-mail. “Wesleyan faculty and staff have long been known as contributors to this community endeavor – a tradition worthy of renewed effort.”

Wesleyan Employee Campaign co-chairs Karen Warren, director of user and technical services, and Valerie Nye, manager of financial reporting, have set Wesleyan’s goal at $130K. They hope to return Wesleyan to the participation level of pre-recession days. Although Wesleyan is one of the largest contributors to the Middlesex United Way, the university’s giving has dropped more than $10K per year over the past five years.

“This is obviously largely attributable to the economy. However as there have been small gains in the economic climate, that has not been reflected in our United Way campaign,” Nye said. “Wesleyan has a long-standing relationship with the community, which is, of course, integral to our identity. We want to continue to foster that spirit with our United Way campaign.”

Warren is “constantly grateful” for the Northern Middlesex County YMCA, one of United Way’s local agencies.

“Our household relies on that program for affordable, convenient after-school programming. It has been an important part of our lives for eight years now,” she said.

The Middlesex United Way supports more than 35 local agencies.

The Middlesex United Way supports more than 35 local agencies.

What folks often misunderstand, Warren said, is that the United Way is locally run and funded. The five-year target areas – currently, education, income, health and housing – are determined based on local need and input.

“When you give to Middlesex United Way, your dollars stay local,” Warren said.

Employee gifts help the Amazing Grace Food Pantry and Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries distribute nearly 750,000 meals to 15,740 families. They help the Women & Families Center’s Sexual Assault Crisis Services support more than 800 people. Middlesex United Way also supports the Community Health Center Mobile Dental Program, MARC: Community Resources, Habitat for Humanity, Gilead Community Services, Middletown Adult Education, Middletown Youth Services Bureau, the Rushford Center, Women and Families Center Sexual Assault Crisis Service, and many more. View the full directory online here.

“Changing lives in this way depends upon our support, and your gift matters. Every gift matters,” Roth said. “If you are continuing your support, thank you. If you are considering a gift for the first time, I hope you will respond to your campus representative with a generous heart.”

Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu. 

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