The Fort Hays State University community exceeded its campaign goal for the 2004 United Way fund drive, raising more than $32,000 for the member agencies that provide a variety of needed services for the citizens of Ellis County.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president and chair of the campus drive, announced that, as of Tuesday, the total for contributions on the campus was $32,057. The total is thought to be an all-time high for the university, although records are not complete for some past years. The campaign on campus ended last Friday, but a few contributions continue to trickle in. President Hammond said the contributions exceeded the university's goal of $30,000 and represented about 9 percent of the United Way of Ellis County's overall goal of $345,000.
Dennis Brumbaugh, plant manager at EnerSys and chair of the 2004 United Way campaign, thanked President Hammond and the university community for providing such outstanding support to the campaign. He reported that the county drive was nearing $263,000, which represents about 76 percent of the $345,000 goal.
" The university's support of the local agencies funded by the United Way shows their commitment to building a strong, healthy community where neighbors care for one another," Brumbaugh said. "We hope the success of the campus drive will inspire other businesses and individuals in Ellis County to support the United Way, which plays such a positive role in the lives of so many people in our community."
Sue Rouse, executive director of the United Way of Ellis County, said a first-ever benefit breakfast at the Golden Corral, 384 Mopar Drive, succeeded in getting a community segment involved in the United Way campaign that previously had not been involved. "Sometimes students don't think of themselves as being able to make donations," Rouse said. "Thanks to the efforts of Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke, Coach Tim O'Connor and the members of the FHSU football team in planning the breakfast, we were able to show students that they could play a role in helping the United Way." She said the Association of Radiologic Technology Studies and the University Activities Board both won Wal-Mart gift cards for having the most members of their organizations at the breakfast.
Fort Hays State University has been a major player in the success of the United Way during its 50-year history in Ellis County. The university's involvement began in 1953 when Dr. Robert T. McGrath, an FHSU faculty member, led the first United Way campaign. Faculty and staff have given not only their money but also their time to many United Way agencies. University faculty were instrumental in organizing the Northwest Kansas Family Shelter and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the High Plains. University leadership provided the first accessible transportation through an Easter Seals van now operated by the Western Kansas Association on Concerns of the Disabled. A strong partnership with the Hays Area Children?s Center provides a learning lab for university students while giving the community's most vulnerable citizens an opportunity for a higher quality of life.
President Hammond noted that faculty, students and staff from the university also play a vital role by providing many of the rank-and-file volunteers who assist in the operations of the United Way's member agencies.
The president said he was heartened by the wide participation in the United Way fund drive by university employees. As leader of the campus drive, he has instituted a novel approach in which all university employees are asked to participate by returning a pledge card.
" We ask each employee to give thoughtful consideration and return the card, even if he or she is not able to give anything that year," he explained. Accordingly, 93 percent of university employees responded, and 58 percent of university employees made contributions.
Sixty-one units on campus had 100-percent participation. As he does each year, the president will entertain all the members of the 100-percent units in Victor E. Lounge at basketball games during the coming season.
In addition, 22 units achieved the United Way's Gold Award status, which means they gave at least $500 and they either had 100-percent giving or averaged a gift of at least $25 per person.