Sometimes words alone are not enough, or so says Larry Walton, president and chief professional officer of the United Way of Central Maryland. Walton says that despite his best efforts to promote the value of his organization to the region, talk cannot do it justice.
Whether involved with teen suicide prevention, teaching someone to swim at the YMCA or fostering cancer research, United Way agencies in some shape or form touch the lives of nearly everyone in the community, Walton says, often without their even realizing it.
"The United Way is unique in that people will never truly value what we do for them until the day comes when they wake up and all our affiliated agencies are gone," Walton says.
Thankfully, he says, it is the generous campaign contributions the United Way receives from institutions like Johns Hopkins that help to ensure that "day" never comes.
"For every dollar we raise, we can provide additional services for the community," Walton says. "But one only has to read the newspaper or listen to the nightly news to understand that the needs here in Central Maryland are tremendous. Even if we far exceed our goal in this campaign, we would still not be able to meet all the needs of our agencies."
The university will officially begin its 2000 campaign for the United Way of Central Maryland with a kickoff event at noon on Sept. 21 in Shriver Hall, Homewood campus; an event for the evening shift will be held at 11 p.m. that night in the Arellano Theater. Launches at other divisions will follow.
This year's three campaign chairs--for the university, Edgar Roulhac, vice provost for academic services; for the Applied Physics Laboratory, Ruth Nimmo, assistant director for business operations; and for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harold E. Fox, professor and director of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the School of Medicine--have set a combined Hopkins goal of $1,822,500.
This figure represents a total for contributions from Johns Hopkins Medicine and all university divisions except the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Money raised at SAIS is reported to the Washington capital area campaign.
Last year's combined Hopkins gifts to the United Way of Central Maryland totaled $1,725,433, setting a record high for Hopkins and making the institution the region's second highest contributor.
Events scheduled for the six-week campaign include a university-wide Day of Caring with teenage parents from the Healthy Families Mondawmin Penn North program of the Family Tree, Oct. 11; an Oldies But Goodies Dance, at 5 p.m., Nov. 17, in the Glass Pavilion of Levering Hall at Homewood; and several lottery drawings throughout the campaign for those employees returning pledges or contributions of $35 or more.
The Days of Caring are events in which staff and faculty can get directly involved with a local community service.
Ruth Nimmo says her fellow APL staff members--69 percent of whom participated in the Days of Caring last year--have been an inspiration in regard to the volunteer spirit.
"The growth of staff participation for the Days of Caring has been just wonderful over the past few years. We have extraordinarily generous people involved in all kinds of community activities inside and outside the United Way campaign," Nimmo says. "We live in exceedingly prosperous times, but there are still many people who have been left behind. We have the capacity to give and should take advantage of that opportunity."
The money raised by the 2000 United Way campaign will support the more than 250 human service programs that seek to improve people's lives in Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties.
Edgar Roulhac says that whatever the individual contribution, combined Hopkins personnel have the ability to make a profound positive difference in the area where they live and work.
"It is so important not to forget the reality of the United Way of Central Maryland when you are reminded about giving. United Way agencies deal with critical, life-related issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This appeal, however, comes only once every year," Roulhac says. "It is in our own best interest to give, for we are of the community we are assisting."
Harold Fox, who is chairing the JHM drive for the third year, echoes that feeling, emphasizing that $6.8 million in grants from various United Way agencies go to the Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The Central Maryland campaign promotes the United Way Community Safety Net. Financial gifts not earmarked for a specific program or agency will be divided among four main target areas: Investing in Children and Youth, Building the Work Force, Strengthening Families and Responding to Crisis.
For more information on Hopkins' United Way campaign, logon to www.jhu.edu/~outreach/uway.