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Pat Wynn and Rick Burgess are returning as co-chairs of the 2019 Cornell United Way campaign.

United Way kickoff promises fun, while making a difference

This year’s Cornell United Way campaign – raising funds from the Cornell community to improve people’s lives in Tompkins County and beyond – will be robust, dynamic and fun, organizers say.

Returning co-chairs Pat Wynn, assistant vice president for student and campus life, and Rick Burgess, vice president for facilities and campus services, are looking forward to generating enthusiasm for the campaign among faculty, staff and students.

Burgess’ and Wynn’s enthusiasm for the United Way will be apparent at the Cornell campaign kickoff celebration, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room. As in previous years, the program will offer free food, music, entertainment and surprises to celebrate the university’s community engagement and commitment to the program.

“We’re excited to launch a vibrant campaign that will provide essential support to our campus and local communities,” Wynn said. “The kickoff event will be a festive occasion for all students, faculty and staff who are committed to helping those in need.”

The Cornell campaign provides about 40% of the support for the United Way of Tompkins County, which aims to help people meet their basic needs while creating lasting change through improvements in education, health and financial stability.

Working with the campaign’s planning committee, Wynn and Burgess are continuing the shortened schedule instituted in 2017, ending the formal campaign Dec. 31.

“Giving to the United Way during the fall months before the end of the year helped us build momentum with our supporters and intensify our outreach,” Burgess said. “There are so many people in need, and it’s so easy to give with payroll deduction, that we can really make a positive difference right here in our local community.”

Every gift by a Cornell student, faculty or staff member goes directly to support agencies and programs locally, and in the communities of the donor’s choice.

“Knowing that 100% of your donation goes directly to help individuals or programs makes participating in this campaign so rewarding,” Burgess said. “We value every donation of every size – every dollar counts! We’re all part of this community, and we all have a chance to make it better.”

The theme of this year’s United Way of Tompkins County community campaign is “Be the solution.” It will be led by Cal Walker, a local activist, entrepreneur and former outreach liaison for Cornell’s Office of Community Relations.

“We’re very excited to partner with Cal Walker,” Wynn said. “As a longtime advocate dedicated to bettering our community, Cal will undoubtedly lead a dynamic and highly successful campaign.”

The United Way helps meet a wide range of needs in the community, making a big difference for those facing emergencies or extreme hardship, while also supporting specific agencies, area food pantries or community councils; United Way special initiatives; or any IRS-approved charitable organization the donor chooses.

Media Contact

Abby Butler