The Cornell United Way campaign, a yearly campus drive that supports a community-wide fundraising effort by the United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) for local nonprofits and those in need, began Sept. 27.
The theme for this year’s Cornell campaign is “All In,” coined by Cornell campaign co-chairs Pat Wynn, assistant vice president of Cornell Student and Campus Life, and Brandon Fortenberry, senior training and development manager at Cornell Dining.
“If everyone on campus gave something to the Cornell United Way campaign, we would more than meet our goal and continue to serve those most in need,” Wynn said, encouraging Cornell faculty and staff to give generously.
“Please think about winter coming, food pantries needing to be restocked, and the physical and mental health needs of our community,” she said.
Last year’s Cornell’s campaign surpassed the goal of $555,000, raising more than $590,000. The Cornell campaign team has set a goal of $575,000 for the current campaign, which will run through the end of December.
Funds raised through the campaign benefit approximately 300 local nonprofits each year, from the Ithaca Community Childcare Center to the Greater Ithaca Activities Center. Donors can contribute to an organization of their choosing or support the Community Care Fund that invests in programs that address community needs and strengthen lives in Tompkins County.
Cornell-affiliated donors can choose to use a payroll deduction to have their gift spread out during the calendar year. The university further supports UWTC by serving as a Cornerstone partner, which allows for 100% of all gifts go directly to the organizations in need.
The UWTC campaign kicked off at the annual Stephen E. Garner Day of Caring event at Cass Park, Ithaca, on Sept. 22, with the theme “United in Action: Engage. Organize. Transform.” At the event, food and personal items collected by individuals and organizations, including Cornell, were sorted and boxed for distribution to local food pantries. UWTC co-chairs Cal Walker, a former Cornell staff member, and Alex Adelwitz, representing Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., announced the $1.8 million goal for the upcoming UWTC campaign.
Michael Ramos, who joined UWTC as its new president and CEO this spring says, United Way is grateful for the “immense generosity” of the whole Cornell community, year after year.
“The Cornell United Way Campaign addresses food and housing insecurity, as well as other basic needs, through dedicated agencies throughout Tompkins County,” Ramos said. “Thank you, Cornell, for serving at the core of the constellation of radiant stars lighting up a future where all people thrive in our midst.”
Susan Riley is deputy director of community relations at Cornell.