made a record-breaking contribution to this year’s Middlesex United Way
annual community campaign.
Frank Kuan, director
of community relations and volunteer community campaign chair, reported that
Wesleyan raised $140,018 for the local United Way chapter, exceeding the
campaign goal of $135,000. This is the most Wesleyan has ever raised for
Middlesex United Way in the 60-plus years the university has been involved
in the campaign.
Middlesex United Way
supports critical human care services and county-wide projects that improve
“This goes to show
that Wesleyan employees care about the community that they work in, and many
of us live in,” Kuan says. “Raising a record amount is a pretty amazing
feat, and it’s a result of everyone’s diligence and effort.”
Wesleyan was among the
top three contributors in the Middlesex United Way Campaign. Kevin Wilhelm,
Middlesex United Way executive director said Wesleyan consistently ranks in
the top 4 percent of all universities nationally with respect to average
gift and percent. This year, Wesleyan represents 6.5 percent of Middlesex
United Way's total of $2,150,000.
Although it was a
successful year in terms of dollars raised, the level of participation
dropped, a development that has Kuan concerned. Last year Wesleyan had 62
percent of its employees participate; this year that number fell to 59
”Every dollar really
counts and it all adds up for what we want to do locally,” Kuan says.
Despite the drop,
seven departments did have 100 percent participation: the Center for
Humanities, Classical Studies; Dean of the College Office; Financial Aid;
Philosophy; Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS)
and the Registrar’s Office.
The Leadership Circle,
comprising 44 individuals and six vendors who pledged at least $1,000 a
year, accounted for $71,050.86 or 50.7 percent of the total amount raised.
director of athletics, chair of the department of physical education,
Middlesex United Way Executive Committee 2002-04, and past president of the
Middlesex United Way Board of Directors said the United Way campaign has
emerged over the past ten years to the point where the employee
contributions ranks first in Middlesex County.
“Wesleyan has always
provided strong support for the United Way,” Biddiscombe says. “However,
now, not only does Wesleyan provide volunteers, but we also provide
significant dollars to local people in need.”
In Middlesex County,
United Way provides ongoing funding for 35 programs and services including
the Amazing Grace Food Pantry, Girl Scouts Connecticut Trail Council Inc.,
Boy Scouts Connecticut River Council, Inc., Literacy Volunteers of Greater
Middletown, Middlesex Hospital Family Advocacy Program, Oddfellows Playhouse
Youth Theater and YMCA of Northern Middlesex County.
In addition to United
Way’s core services, the organization is creating three new initiatives:
A substance abuse
prevention initiative aimed at area teens.
A program designed to reduce and treat
behavioral problems among children from birth to 5-years-old.
An affordable housing project, due to
launch this spring, will build upon local grassroots housing efforts to
increase the affordable housing stock.
In 2003, United Way
touched 26,809 people, or 62 percent of Middletown’s population. Overall, it
reached 53,750 people or 34 percent of all people in Middlesex County.
Middlesex United Way
recognized Wesleyan’s contributions with three awards at its recent annual
meeting: a Silver Award for Participation, a Special Award for Excellence in
Leadership Giving, and an Employee Honor Roll award for Five Consecutive
Years of Campaign Growth.
professor of economics, and Mike Zebarth, director of PIMMS, will serve as
co-chairs for the 2005-06 campaign.
For more information