Dartmouth Launches Annual United Way Campaign

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Dartmouth’s 2012 United Way campaign began this week with a fundraising goal of $275,000 to help improve education, health, and income stability through support of local programs and initiatives. At a kickoff event on Tuesday, October 23, about 50 people gathered at the Hanover Inn to learn more about the impact the United Way has on the Upper Valley.

United Way representatives

Dartmouth employees and United Way representatives met this week in the Hayward Room of the Hanover Inn to launch the annual Dartmouth campaign. (photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“You’ll never know the countless number of lives you’ve touched or even saved,” said Mark Helijas, executive director of the Second Wind Foundation in White River Junction, Vt. The Second Wind Foundation assists addiction recovery through efforts such as providing support services and education. Helijas said the Second Wind Foundation’s largest source of funding, other than the State of Vermont, comes from the United Way.

Dana Hanson, director of resource development for the Upper Valley region at New Hampshire’s Granite United Way, talked about how important Dartmouth’s contributions are for local organizations.

“The College’s campaign really is the foundation of what we do here in the Upper Valley,” Hanson said.

Dartmouth’s relationship with United Way dates back to the early 1970s, when the first campaign was conducted. Dartmouth has continually worked with the United Way to bring positive changes to the Upper Valley; this fall, Dartmouth and the United Way sponsored the third annual Day of Caring, in which many Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff spend a day volunteering around the Upper Valley.

“The Dartmouth United Way campaign has been helping families in the Upper Valley for nearly 40 years,” said David Spalding ’76, senior vice president and senior adviser to the president. “Our contributions provide programs and services that touch the lives of thousands of our neighbors and make this community a special place to live.”

Last year’s fundraising campaign raised $282,000. Granite United Way anticipates helping about 33,000 individuals throughout the Upper Valley in 2012. Dartmouth Department Coordinators will be distributing donation forms and providing information to Dartmouth employees in the coming days; donors who contribute $156 or more per year to the United Way will be eligible for prize drawings.

“One of the most important roles the United Way plays is the ability to respond to emerging and immediate needs of the community,” says Sara Kobylenski, executive director of the Upper Valley Haven. Kobylenski said this flexibility was particularly vital last year in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. The United Way supported Upper Valley Strong, a group including non profit agencies, churches, and schools, which helped rebuild communities following the storm, Kobylenski said.

The Dartmouth campaign runs through January 23, 2013.