Leading the 2011 U of G United Way campaign are, from left, co-chair Al Sullivan, executive assistant Rhonda Alger, and co-chair Gen Gundy. Photo by Susan Bubak.

As soon as she was asked to co-chair the University’s United Way fundraising campaign, Genevieve Gundy said yes. Yes, because she knows the United Way funds hospice services, and she remembers how important hospice support was for her when a close family member was dying from brain cancer.

“The hospice service in Ottawa helped in so many ways, even sending support workers to the home. I can’t say how valuable that type of care was in a difficult time for our family.”

Gundy, who is secretariat officer and information and privacy co-ordinator for the University, says she’s trying to say thank you by helping with the U of G United Way campaign.

Her co-chairs for 2011 are Prof. Al Sullivan, Department of Plant Agriculture, undergraduate student Vanessa Young and graduate student Gavin Armstrong.

Behind them is a team of about 150 people who serve as United Way canvassers, committee members and event organizers.

The campaign team will be barbecuing hot dogs Sept. 23 at the official launch of the University’s 2011 fundraising drive. The barbecue will take place in Branion Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will feature a free concert by the popular Guelph band The GMOs.

You can buy a hot dog and pop for $4; $1 more adds a cob of corn.

Also on the barbecue crew are U of G president Alastair Summerlee, who will announce the University’s United Way goal for this year, and Guelph graduate Marva Wisdom, who chairs the county-wide United Way campaign. On Sept. 14 she announced a $2.85-million goal for United Way of Guelph and Wellington.

The University community donated $551,000 last year.

Guelph and Wellington United Way supports 80 agencies working in our community, says Gundy. “Everybody is touched in one way or another by one of these groups.”

To learn more about their services, visit their website at http://unitedwayguelph.com/.

Following the University’s kickoff barbecue, faculty, staff and retirees will receive a payroll deduction form from their departmental canvasser. Sullivan says this is the backbone of the annual campus fundraising drive. “If you’re on the University payroll, it’s the easiest way to give, because your donation is spread out over the next year.”

He’s challenging donors to become “Everyday Heroes” by pledging a dollar a day − $365 – and hopes those who can will boost their gift to the $1,000 leadership level − $2.74 a day. “The need in our community gets bigger every year, and I know the University community has the capacity and the heart to respond in step with that growing need,” says Sullivan.

The payroll form can also be used to make a one-time cash donation. And this year for the first time, U of G students will be able to deduct a gift to the United Way from their meal plan.

However you choose to give, says Gundy, you could win a prize in one of the United Way’s weekly incentive draws. Payroll forms are automatically entered; other donors can download a gift form from the United Way website: www.uoguelph.ca/unitedway/. Return the form to your area canvasser or to Revenue Control, UC 4.

Weekly incentive prizes are donated by individuals, U of G departments and local Guelph businesses; a list of prizes and winners will be posted on the website.

Donors are also eligible for a grand-prize draw Dec. 5 for a $500 gift certificate from Stone Road Mall, a $500 RRSP from TD Canada Trust, and a one-year parking pass from U of G Parking Services.

The kickoff barbecue is the first of many fundraising events that will take place on campus in the next few weeks. Most will be listed on the website, but one you might already be wondering about, says Sullivan, is the now-traditional College Idol talent competition. The search is on for talent contestants. If you’re interested, contact Jennifer Beehler, secretary to the chair in the Department of Clinical Studies, before Oct. 10 at jbeehler@ovc.uoguelph.ca.

The talent show and Halloween costume party will take place Oct. 31 at noon in Peter Clark Hall. Check the U of G United Way website for ticket information.


Learn More about the United Way

Click here for a video about the services of  United Way agency Hospice Wellington.