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February 16, 2011

United Way: Changing communities, changing lives

ChangeThere are many reasons University faculty and staff give to United Way each year.

For Maggie Cassie, assistant provost for faculty development and diversity, it’s the opportunity to help Rochester’s youth succeed in school.

“I give to the United Way because I would like to help Rochester’s children have the tools and support that they need to graduate from high school and improve their opportunities for the future,” she says.

Cassie pledges her support by donating to the United Way’s community fund, which addresses the region’s greatest areas of need.

United Way of Greater Rochester conducted surveys with more than 1,200 people and talked with more than 100 human-service professionals to learn the community’s top concerns.

Using the feedback, the organization created its Blueprint for Change—a comprehensive community approach to addressing critical community issues through proven, evidence-based programs and initiatives.

  • Early childhood—initiatives that provide children with the best possible start in life;
  • School Aged Youth—efforts to help students prepare for college, work, and life, by age 21;
  • Aging—support for older adults and their caregivers to allow seniors to remain active and independent as long as possible;
  • Crisis—organizations that help provide people in crisis, prevent regression, and provide assurance that families have their basic needs met;
  • Disability—programs to fully engage individuals with disabilities as members of the community.

In all, the United Way supports about 75 different area programs at community agencies through its unrestricted community fund.

“Rochester is our home, where we choose to work, raise families, and live our lives. The United Way’s community fund helps improve quality of life,” says Andrea Demeo, director of the University’s campaign. “By giving to the community fund we can have an impact on the lives of so many, including children, families, people with disabilities, older adults and those in crisis.”


Donors can also designate contributions to one or more additional agencies that United Way supports.

The University’s campaign started this week with an early donor campaign. The general campaign launches March 2. The ePledge system, a confidential online donation tool, is now available. Those who pledge before Feb. 28 are eligible for prize drawings and are invited to the campaign kickoff breakfast at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2, in the Flaum Atrium, School of Medicine and Dentistry (RSVP to 224-2871).

Paper pledge forms are also available for those who want to pledge their support early. Print them from the United Way web site,, or call 224-2871 and the University’s campaign office will mail you a form. Check @Rochester for updates throughout the campaign.

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