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United Way campaign kicks off

Members of the MIT community will soon be receiving personalized pledge-form packets for MIT's 1998 United Way campaign, which will officially kick off today in Lobby 7 from 11:30am-1:30pm with refreshments and balloons.

For the first time this year, donors may specify the MIT Community Service Fund (CSF) as a recipient of their pledge. Participants are free to target their contribution to any local non-United Way agency that is a 501(c)(3) health or human services organization, including Community Works, the Black United Fund or CSF.

Donors may have the United Way allocate contributions to where they are most needed or ask on their pledge form that their contribution go to one of seven categories of recipients: children up to age 6, youth and teens, girls age 7-18, the elderly, the homeless and hungry, abused women and children, or for AIDS prevention and treatment. They may also direct contributions to a specific United Way agency within or outside the area served by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay area (UWMB).

About half of the MIT community has already received pledge forms; the rest (including Lincoln Laboratory employees) will receive them this week.

As a result of the early distribution of some forms, the campaign has already logged pledges totaling more than $12,000, including five Leadership Givers pledging at least $1,000 apiece.

The campaign, whose theme this year is "Giving that Works -- Caring that Counts," is scheduled to run through December 31.

Last year, members of the MIT community pledged more than $322,000 that helped more than 1.8 million people in the 80 cities and towns in the UWMB service area. Seventy-five people were Leadership Givers. The UWMB goal is $47,900,000.

"We hope to reach or exceed the $322,000 this year, but more importantly, we hope to increase donor participation by members of the MIT community," said Elizabeth Mulcahy, employee campaign manager in the Office of Special Community Services.

Most people opt to make donations through the payroll deduction plan, but they may also use a personal check or credit card. The United Way also welcomes gifts of securities, property, stocks or other types of planned gifts.

The annual solicitor orientation program with Chancellor Lawrence Bacow and United Way Steering Committee members was held on October 16. Representatives of any departments that have not yet appointed a solicitor should contact Ms. Mulcahy or Annmarie Cameron in Rm 50-005, x3-7914.

Events including the annual clothing drive and bake sale will be taking place during the campaign. Dates for these events will be announced soon. There will also be an end-of-the-campaign raffle; anyone who makes a donation to the United Way Campaign will be automatically entered in to the drawing for various prizes donated by local vendors.

Many members of the MIT community donate their time as well as money to one or more of the almost 200 nonprofit social service agencies helped by the UWMB. During the campaign, MIT will periodically profile some of these people. Anyone who is a volunteer (or knows one) may contact Alice Waugh, editor of MIT Tech Talk, at x8-5401 or Rm 5-111.

For more information on the campaign, see the UWMB's web site.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 21, 1998.

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