Growing up, Karen Collins’s family found
themselves in financially-difficult situations. But when times got tough,
her community generously helped the family through local programs.
In college, she received financial aid, and relied on the support of many
alumni of her school to finish her degrees.
the chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, professor of
mathematics, is giving back to her community by chairing Wesleyan’s
Middlesex United Way campaign drive for the 2007-08 term.
Wesleyan’s annual campaign kick-off is Oct.
“I’m a supporter of United Way because I want to give back to the world some
of the help that I received,” Collins says. “I also want to live in a strong
and healthy community, and that's not really possible unless the people
around me have food, homes, and basic medical care. The United Way serves
people in our community, which is important to me, and supports so many
programs in our community, that it is easy to find programs that I really
want to support.”
Wesleyan employees will have the opportunity to make a difference in the
lives of local residents and improve community conditions by making
donations to the Middlesex United Way. The campaign supports critical human
care services and county-wide projects that address the top concerns of
local residents including housing issues, mental health and substance abuse.
This year, Wesleyan’s goal is to raise $140,000 with 47 percent faculty and
staff participation. Last year, Wesleyan raised $135,399 with 45 percent
“As faculty and staff retire, we have to expect that our total contributions
will fluctuate from year to year, and that's one reason we are making the
participation rate a priority this year,” Collins says.
Middlesex United Way currently supports six “What Matters” focus areas for
including Affordable Housing Matters, School Readiness Matters, Positive
Youth Development Matters, Independent Living Matters, Personal & Community
Safety Matters and Volunteers Matter.
United Way also is mobilizing the caring power of communities in new ways,
by working with new partners on prevention-based approaches that can bring
about long-term, positive change.
Bill Holder, director of publications, says as a Wesleyan Middlesex United
Way Campaign Board member, he is able to witness first hand how much effort
goes into making sure that United Way dollars have a beneficial impact, and
his contribution is handled with care.
“I certainly believe in helping worthy organizations in the community, and
that’s part of my motivation for giving,” he says. “I’m also well aware that
Middlesex United Way is working in a strategically smart way to address the
underlying causes of problems in our county, and I think that’s so
In 2006-07, Wesleyan was one of 160 businesses and organizations which
helped raise 65 percent of all United Way funds during their annual
workplace campaign. For its efforts, Wesleyan was named a Silver-level
"Together with our donors, volunteers and funding partners, we are bringing
lasting change on key community issues like youth substance abuse,
affordable housing, and early childhood development," says Andy Heuer,
Middlesex United Way development director. "Wesleyan's leadership and
financial support is, and always has been, an integral part in helping us
achieve our goals."
Employees can make a one-time donation or have funds withdrawn once a week,
once every two weeks or once a month through Wesleyan’s payroll deduction plan. Forms will be sent to
Wesleyan employees this month. A raffle drawing will be held with prizes for
those making contributions.
“Here in the Wesleyan community, we have so much wealth compared to many,
many people who live around us. We have wealth of education, of resources,
and of support for our plans and ideas,” Collins says. “I believe that we
can make a difference in the world and that, because we can be, we need to
be leaders in making the world a better place. Our contributions make a
difference in the lives of the people in our community, and they have an
immediate impact. When we live in a strong community, our own lives are
enriched and improved.”
For more information on Middlesex United Way go to the organization’s