Queen’s United Way has nearly hit its fundraising goal for the year, securing 91.6 per cent of its $330,177 target by its last measure, Nov. 16.
Students, faculty, fundraisers and barbeques contributed to fundraising efforts since the campaign began on Oct. 1. The organization’s Queen’s chapter aims to support the partner organizations of United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFLA).
The added funds will support of the KFLA United Way, helping charitable
organizations in Kingston and the surrounding area. Last year, the programs in these areas benefitted more than 58,000 people, according to the organization.
In an interview, geography and urban planning Professor David Gordon told The Journal Queen’s was the largest regional contributor to United Way and its partner organizations.
“The thing that caught my eye about the United Way is how it represents so many different organizations, and is so good at targeting what it does,” Gordon said.
One of those supported programs is Lunch by George, an initiative started by former Queen’s professor, John Coleman, in 1987. Initially, the program provided emergency shelter for the homeless after the closure of Kingston’s Psychiatric Hospital.
The Lunch by George program ran entirely local organizations’ short term donations. However, it wasn’t able to find the annual financing needed to operate in the long-term.
“I was recruited to the program by Coleman, who was very dear to me,” Gordon said. “After returning to Queen’s to be a professor, he put the arm on me to help out with the agency.”
After receiving support from the United Way, the program is able to serve about 10,000 meals a year, according to Gordon.
Gordon added the United Way aims to focus on the training and operations of their programs to help targeted groups in the local community.
As the faculty representative of the United Way, Gordon spreads awareness of the benefits of United Way to surrounding communities.
“One of the things I’ve been trying to do this year is help Queen’s understand the United Way is a powerful force for good in the community, and faculty at Queen’s would like to think they’re leaders in the community of Kingston, to whom much is given and much is expected.”
Gordon aims to encourage faculty participation among his fellow colleagues. He said switching to a computerized payroll system lead some staff to be unaware donations weren’t deducted automatically from their accounts.
“It appears that the participation rate has slipped a bit in recent years, perhaps because of the switch to on-line payroll systems.”
Nonetheless, Gordon said the current need for the United Way is crucial, and every donation counts.
This year’s campaign began on Oct. 1, and has since raised $302,654 in donations.
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