(Editor's note: This continues Tech Talk's series of profiles during the current United Way campaign, profiling members of the MIT community who volunteer their time to human-services agencies. If you are a volunteer or know someone else who is, please call Alice Waugh, x8-5401).
People of all ages benefit from United Way donations, and Christine Foglia works with some of the youngest.
Mrs. Foglia, administrator at the Sloan School's Center for Information Systems Research, volunteers much of her free time with the Girl Scouts, serving as a Brownie troop leader in Revere as well as cookie chairman and calendar chairman for the entire city. The Spar and Spindle Girl Scout Council, of which her troop is a part, is receiving $74,561 in United Way funds for 1993-94. Three councils in eastern Massachusetts will get a total of $502,213. They are among the 210 human services agencies that receive help from United Way of Massachusetts Bay, whose overall goal this year is to raise $45.36 million.
Mrs. Foglia's activities with the Scouts began two years ago when her daughter Danielle, who was in kindergarten at the time, wanted to join Daisy Girl Scouts (the pre-Brownie step), but there were no openings in the existing troops-so Mrs. Foglia started a new Daisy group. "I have really fond memories of being a Girl Scout myself," she said in explaining her efforts.
Now leader of a 23-member Brownie troop of girls in grades one to three, Mrs. Foglia plans activities with two assistant leaders for meetings that are held each Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Revere. The girls participate with other troops in activities such as a recent Halloween party for all the Daisy and Brownie Scouts in Revere and Saugus, numbering about 180.
The girls also do service projects such as this month's Holiday Helpers, where they decorate bags for holding gifts for disadvantaged children. They've planted flowers around the church where they meet and even dusted and washed the pews.
"They get to be the best they can be without worrying about [competition with] boys. There's not a lot of pressure," Mrs. Foglia said. "They also get a broader experience with guidance from different adults, instead of just their parents.
"People need to learn how to give back to their community, and these little girls are doing just that," she added.
As of November 4, the MIT community had raised $36,064, which is slightly more than 11 percent of the Institute's goal of $320,000. Progress toward that goal will be charted on a hanging poster in Lobby 7 depicting a thermometer. Employees may make general contributions to be distributed by United Way, they may target one or more of eight general areas (such as the elderly or HIV/AIDS) covering several agencies, or they may donate to a specific agency-even one that does not currently receive United Way funds. Donations may be made on a one-time basis or over a period of time through payroll deductions.
So far, 130 people have made contributions, including five Leadership Givers who have donated at least $1,000. Last year, MIT had the highest number of Leadership Givers among colleges and universities in the UWMB area, with 51 people donating a total of $78,302. "Hopefully, we'll get even more this year," said MIT campaign manager Elizabeth Mulcahy. "We're happy so far. We hope we can just keep pushing that thermometer up."
A version of this article appeared in the November 10, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 13).