United Way campaign kicks off with goal of $2.2 million

Your donation to the United Way of Central Maryland can help those in the community struggling with basic needs so that they can get out of crisis, stabilize, and achieve self-sufficiency.

The combined university/Johns Hopkins Medicine financial goal for the 2012 United Way of Central Maryland campaign is $2.2 million, a total for contributions from all divisions except SAIS, whose donations are reported to the National Capital Area campaign in Washington, D.C., and the Applied Physics Laboratory, which no longer reports its financial goals and results.

The United Way of Central Maryland adds a new initiative this year called Family Stability. The program serves families with young children in school who are at risk of becoming homeless. Working with the school system and other nonprofit organizations, the United Way of Central Maryland identifies the high-risk families and then assigns case managers who meet with the families and develop plans that keep them together, secure, and independent in their homes. If necessary, families receive financial support, including assistance with the security deposit for another home, to keep the family in the same school zone.

"While this type of individualized case management and financial support doesn't come without a cost, housing families in traditional shelters is even more expensive," says Mark Furst, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. "Student academic success is optimized when children stay in the same school. Conversely, student academic success suffers if they become transient, are uprooted from their schools and classmates, or miss school altogether for periods of time."

He says that donations are needed to fund the Family Stability initiative and other services, and that United Way asks for Johns Hopkins' continued support.

"We simply could not fulfill our role without the perennially generous support of the Johns Hopkins family, for which we are extremely thankful," he says.

Employees and students of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine pledged more than $2.3 million to United Way of Central Maryland in 2011.

Tom Lewis, vice president for government and community affairs, is chair of the university's campaign, which runs from Oct. 3 to Dec. 14.

Ted DeWeese, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences at the School of Medicine, is chair of the Johns Hopkins Medicine campaign, which runs from Oct. 15 to Nov. 2.

The university's campaign will be rolled out by its coordinators and "ambassadors," selected employees who will educate others about United Way and can answer questions.

Employees will be able to designate all or part of their donation to the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund, which supports agencies that serve communities in close proximity to Johns Hopkins campuses and have a strong relationship with Johns Hopkins and its employees. It was created in 2007 to assist community-oriented organizations and agencies that may not currently receive United Way funding.

"Our work with the United Way of Central Maryland represents one of the key partnerships the university has with our community," Lewis says. "Through the annual United Way Campaign and Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund, we recognize and support the efforts of many of the local organizations working hard every day to enhance the lives of our friends, our neighbors, and our communities."

Last year, the Neighborhood Fund raised more than $270,000. To be considered, nonprofit organizations must be associated with Johns Hopkins through employee and/or institutional involvement and deliver services within the Live Near Your Work program boundaries and/or a 3/4-mile radius of a Johns Hopkins campus that participates in the annual United Way of Central Maryland campaign. A committee representing a cross section of employees oversees allocation of the fund.

The campaigns will feature department- and office-level events that seek to educate Johns Hopkins employees about the work of the Neighborhood Fund as well as of United Way of Central Maryland, which supports human service agencies in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties.

Employees will receive information by email about how to pledge using a secure and confidential electronic system or by paper. For more information on the Johns Hopkins campaigns, go to jhu.edu/unitedway or hopkinsmedicine.org/unitedway, or contact unitedway@jhu.edu or 443-997-7000.

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