University of Pittsburgh
March 21, 2013

Donors “Flock” to New Pitt United Way Record

University of Pittsburgh breaks its United Way giving record for the third consecutive year by raising $620,326
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—New United Way donors in the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health “flocked” to the 2012 campaign, “Live United for a Greater Pittsburgh,” helping the University break its United Way giving record for the third consecutive year by raising $620,326—more than $3,000 higher than the previous year’s total.

Sarah Metz, secretary to Graduate School of Public Health Dean Donald Burke, created a “pigeon flocking” fundraising activity as a fun, quirky, and visible way to increase the United Way campaign participation in the school. Faculty and staff could target a colleague for a “pigeon flock” with a donation to the United Way, and that “pigeon flockee” would arrive to find his or her work area overrun with photographs of pigeons.  Faculty and staff could also purchase “pigeon flocking” insurance with a donation, to prevent an avian attack on their work area. Metz says that the promotion worked, increasing participation in the school’s United Way campaign by 7 percent.

Pitt’s United Way campaign manager Anne Franks, executive director of administration in Pitt’s Office Institutional Advancement, said that Metz’s campaign wasn’t the only creative event: The Office of Parking, Transportation and Services held a contest for employees to trade places with its director, Kevin Sheehey; the Office of Institutional Advancement held a cookout and chili contests; and the employees at Pitt’s Thomas Boulevard facility competed with those in the Hillman Library in a competition to see who could sell the most soup.

“The Pitt United Way Campaign engages faculty and staff across the University who are committed to building a healthy and vibrant community,” said Franks. “We reach out to our neighbors because we are all connected, and we do best when everyone is cared for.  The 400-plus coordinators and representatives throughout the campus give their time generously to encourage their colleagues to join them in this important effort. It is, indeed, the people of Pitt who make this a strong community partnership.”

Overall, there were 2,374 gifts from University employees and 127 gifts from retirees. Faculty and staff donated $580,886; retirees gave $26,361, and $13,079 was raised through special events like the ones outlined above. There were 623 new donors, and $305,326 was directed to the United Way’s Impact Fund. Unionized staff participation increased by 13 percent, and the amount of their donations represented a 90 percent increase.

The 2012 campaign kicked off in September and was cochaired by G. Reynolds Clark, vice chancellor for community initiatives and chief of staff for Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, and Everette James, associate vice chancellor for health policy and planning for the schools of the health sciences. Michelle Page, human resources manager in the Office of Institutional Advancement, served as campaign coordinator.