Yale’s annual workplace campaign with United Way of Greater New Haven launched in September with the theme “Respond. Recover. Reimagine.” Led by a core committee and team of champions, the campaign aims to raise $1.3 million by Oct. 30 and hopes to engage more than 1,300 donors.
Each year, faculty and staff members donate to help United Way address education, health, and financial stability issues in a 12-town region.
“United Way was made to meet these challenges,” says Doretha Dee Jackson in United Way of Greater New Haven’s annual campaign video. “For 100 years, United Way has been the problem solver in unforgiving cities, rundown neighborhoods, and what look like picture-perfect suburbs.”
“In this turbulent period, many more families in New Haven and surrounding areas are experiencing hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and challenges to their mental and physical health,” wrote President Peter Salovey in an email. “We know that Yale’s well-being depends on the health of its home and neighboring communities … Let’s work together to invest in the future of our community.”
Salovey’s message to the Yale community resonated with Suzette Courtmanche, the senior administrative assistant to the head of Pauli Murray College.
“This year, there is an even greater need for extending financial stability to the Greater New Haven community. I am grateful for my continued employment by the university throughout this pandemic and felt the need to reciprocate in some small way,” said Courtmanche. “For the past 10 years of my employment at Yale, I have been able to improve upon my emotional, physical, and financial health because of the many Yale employee benefits and opportunities.”
Courtmanche is not alone. More than 575 faculty and staff members have already pledged through the online giving portal.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the giving campaign will take place exclusively online with outreach via email, presentations at online meetings, and virtual donor celebrations. The campaign’s goal reflects the Yale community’s long tradition of supporting United Way, even during financially uncertain times.
“In this current climate, I am most worried about providing basic needs for those whose jobs have been lost; or childcare not being available for students learning remotely while parents must work,” said Courtmanche, who decided to pledge her gift via a payroll deduction.
The core committee, comprised of 13 staff members from across the university, works closely with the Yale Human Resources Information Systems team to ensure that faculty and staff can easily submit a pledge in an online portal via a one-time credit card or debit card donation or an ongoing payroll deduction. Donors can select a specific initiative or allocate their gift to United Way’s general fund. Initiatives include: Helping Children Succeed through Education, Ending Hunger, Making Families Financially Secure, Improving Mental Health and Wellness, and Ending Homelessness.
“In my opinion, it starts with feeding the hungry. I can’t imagine what it is like to wake up hungry and to worry about where your next meal is coming from,” said Paul Murawski, Yale’s director of marketing and trademark licensing, who gave to this year’s campaign.
“When I was in school, many years ago, I did a work-study at the Newport, Rhode Island Boys Club, which was supported by United Way,” said Murawski. “I always remember how important the club was to that community, especially the underprivileged.”
United Way of Greater New Haven impacts more than 200,000 people in New Haven, Hamden, North Haven, East Haven, West Haven, Orange, Woodbridge, Bethany, North Branford, Branford, Guilford, and Madison. The organization offers numerous opportunities for community members to volunteer their time while supporting personal and important causes.
“As a result of COVID-19, social unrest, and racial injustice, the work of Women United couldn’t be more important,” said Marinda Monfilston, the diversity programs coordinator in the human resources department and a member of the United Way’s “Women United” giving society. “I look forward to continuing to help families thrive in a way that is most meaningful and beneficial by contributing my time, treasure, and talent.”
Since 2016, Yale faculty and staff members have donated more than $5 million and volunteered at dozens of United Way events in the community. Although the 2020 workplace campaign will close earlier than in previous years, faculty and staff can volunteer throughout the year in-person or via virtual opportunities.
To make a gift to this year’s campaign, visit the Yale-United Way website and click “Give Today.”