Campaign Donors Make Gifts of Impact, Aid United Way to ‘Do What They Do Best’

Wanda DiPaolo holds a photograph of her father

For Wanda DiPaolo, giving to Pitt’s United Way campaign each year feels “personally powerful.”

DiPaolo, a financial analyst in Computing Services and Systems Development, saw firsthand the value of her donation to the United Way when her father was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2008.

“His local ALS chapter was supported by the United Way and helped to provide him with equipment to ease his way,” DiPaolo said, “and, most importantly, provided unfailing support to my mom, who was his caregiver. Without this assistance, my parents would have been trapped in their home until he passed.”

That’s why DiPaolo has been giving throughout her Pitt career to the University’s annual United Way campaign, which kicked off its 14th edition on Sept. 28 and runs through Dec. 22.

Said DiPaolo: “My gift to the United Way, targeted for the local ALS chapter here in Pittsburgh, helps the organization do what they do best, and that is support patients and their caregivers touched by this disease without having to spend money unnecessarily on fundraising efforts.”

The Southwestern Pennsylvania United Way chapter has been given the top rating from Charity Navigator for the past seven years in a row, ranking it in the top 3 percent of charitable organizations nationwide for accountability and transparency. “I know that my money is going to good causes, and it’s being accounted for,” noted campaign director Kate McGlynn, manager of administration in the Office of Institutional Advancement.

“Pitt is a pillar in the community,” she added, “and we need to continue to show our support for everyone in our community.”

McGlynn said this year’s twin goals are to increase participation in Pitt offices and departments by 50 percent, and to raise $713,000 — 10 percent more than last year.

“It’s important to give to the Pitt United Way campaign because the money we give to our local United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania goes a long way toward supporting our communities,” McGlynn said. “A stronger community makes a stronger University.”

To encourage increases in participation and giving, the campaign will hold weekly prize drawings, Fridays at noon, among all those who have given since the beginning of the campaign. Donate early and you’ll be eligible for every subsequent drawing. Prizes include Pitt gear, lunches at the University Club and even free vacation days.

Campaign co-chair Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement, chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees, said that this year’s goals are achievable through presenting the mission of the campaign in personal terms.

“Our Pitt community has been generous through the years, and this fall we will extend that special legacy. Through stories about co-workers once helped during difficult times or relatives who were provided much-needed assistance or services, we know that our staff and faculty will be motivated to participate in even greater numbers,” Humphrey said. “This isn’t really about prizes and making goals; it’s about making the greatest positive impact on our community that we can.”

How to give

Have you given to United Way and seen its impact? Have you been affected by a program sponsored by United Way? Let us know, and the University Times might feature your story: utimes@pitt.edu.

Paycheck deductions can be made by pledging a minimum of $2 per month. Deductions start in employees’ January 2018 pay. To enroll using paycheck deductions or to make a credit card or bill me transaction online, Pitt employees should log in to the My Pitt Portal using their University computing account username and password. They should then click on the “Donate to the United Way” link in the upper-right corner of the page. From there, they can select their preferred method of giving.

Gifts may be directed to the individual fund or funds of the donor’s choosing, picked from among hundreds of local and national agencies listed on the Pitt campaign website — such as a local ALS chapter to which DiPaolo donates and the breed-specific dog rescue group she has also chosen to support. Other local agencies that can be chosen through the Pitt campaign include area food banks, local chapters of Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and a wide variety of groups serving the needs of children and women in Western Pennsylvania.

Pitt staff and faculty also can direct their contribution to the Impact Fund, through which the United Way channels support to local agencies that serve populations facing the most critical current needs.

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