United Way Campaign Sets New Records

woman in blue and gold "Yinz Give?" shirtThe generosity and enthusiasm of the University of Pittsburgh faculty and staff sent the 2017 Pitt United Way campaign soaring — raising $673,962, the annual initiative’s highest total ever.

One of the things that put this year’s effort over the top was an increase in departments staging special events, said Kate McGlynn, campaign director and administration manager in the Office of Institutional Advancement. A big pancake breakfast sponsored by Computing Services and Systems Development raised $700. A soup and chili cook-off raised another $115.

Other Pitt staffers held Guess the Baby Picture contests, paid $5 to wear jeans or a sports jersey on a Friday, hosted a taco bar and held a thrift sale in the Cathedral of Learning Commons Room.

“When you have a special event in your department, you’re generating excitement and awareness,” said McGlynn. She said sometimes that prompts people to make an individual contribution as well.

Another key to success was the chance for anyone who gave an individual donation to win prizes. Weekly drawings were held for goodies that included an extra vacation day, a free campus parking spot for a month or lunch for two at the University Club.

“The United Way is on the frontlines of our community, lending a helping hand to those who need it most, and Pitt is proud to continue to be a strong partner in this important work,” said Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement, secretary of the Board of Trustees and 2017 Pitt United Way Campaign co-chair. “This has always been a very giving community, but we decided to try some new strategies to energize the campaign and encourage record engagement. Our Pitt family did not disappoint. We smashed records and set the bar even higher for next year, which will help ensure that we can make a difference in the lives of residents across Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

A record amount of money went to the United Way’s Impact Fund, which is for regional programs or agencies that have the highest need. They include the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, among others.

Staff and faculty record-setting donations — by the numbers

Pitt’s United Way Campaign, which ran from Sept. 28, 2017, to Jan. 5, 2018, generated strong support and broke several records. Campaign-wide totals:

  • $673,962 in total pledges — 94.5 percent of the campaign goal and the highest total in the campaign’s history.
  • 2,394 donors — the highest number in four years.

Totals in several categories of giving also were the highest ever in Pitt’s United Way campaign history:

  • $427,156 in leadership gifts, which are donations of $1,000 or more.
  • $197,641 in women’s leadership gifts.
  • $366,095 for the Impact Fund.
  • 786 new donors.