‘The work we do … creates ripples of hope’ campus support for United Way campaign comprises 64% of campaign total
By Catherine Blankensop
Thanks to 1,027 generous donors and nearly 100 campaign volunteers, the Indiana University Bloomington campus raised $692,856 in support of United Way of Monroe County’s 2021 annual fund drive, Reimagine our Future. This contribution accounted for 64% of the entire community campaign.
Paul Helmke, campaign co-chair, said he was encouraged to see strong support for the campaign during the transition from "the darkest days of COVID-19 to what we hope is a return to a new version of ‘normal.’” Helmke is a faculty member at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and directs the Civic Leaders Center. Mattie White, deputy director of IU Athletics, is the campaign co-chair.
“Like so many others, I have long known and admired United Way’s mission, but to get a first-hand look at the difference that it makes and how our campus engages in that work has been really special,” White said.
United Way supports such services as emergency housing, nutritious meals, mental health care, disability services, and more. A $260 donation can provide an eye exam and glasses to an elementary student from a low-income home, and $520 provides disaster relief assistance to a family that experienced a house fire.
“It was gratifying to me as co-chair to learn more about the family-supporting, and often lifesaving, work of the many local agencies that deliver services to those suffering from homelessness, food insecurity, and challenges of all sorts,” Helmke said.
The IU community comes together in other ways to support United Way. University Information and Technology Services across several IU campuses participated in the UITS Cares Day of Service, a paid volunteer leave day to volunteer with United Way member agencies focused on food insecurity.
Employes from the Bloomington campus UITS department spent two days helping Hoosier Hills Food Bank prepare for its annual book fair in October. The fair featured more than 100,000 donated items for sale, and the money raised helps the food bank serve over 100 food-serving nonprofits across seven Indiana counties.
“I think any time we answer a call of need in the community, we are making a positive impact,” said Anna Lynch, IU UITS eLearning Design group manager and UITS Cares co-lead.
Employees in Bryan Hall and at the IU School of Optometry each hosted food drives benefiting Hoosier Hills Food Bank, raising 373 and 377 pounds of food, respectively. Combined, this is enough to serve nearly 900 meals.
IU Bloomington students also got involved in giving back. Student United Way partnered with Bloomington Delta Music Club for an outdoor benefit concert in October. Despite the cold weather, over 100 students attended the concert, raising $665 from ticket sales and donations.
“Everyone loves good music, and everyone loves a good cause,” said Noah Moenning, co-president of Student United Way and IU senior studying management at the O’Neill School.
The IU United Way campaign was made possible by the support of volunteers, donors, and the IU Bloomington community. Learn more about the United Way campaign and how to get involved.
“We are all in this together,” Helmke said. “And the work we do to support the United Way creates ripples of hope that will make a positive difference for years to come."