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United Way campaign kicks off Nov. 8

Princeton NJ -- The University and other employers in the area will join together to help people in the local communities through the United Way of Greater Mercer County's annual fund-raising campaign. This year's theme is ''What Matters: Results You Can See.''

The campaign will take place from Nov. 8 through Dec. 8 on the main campus and at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.

Last year, the University and its faculty and staff donated more than $196,830 to provide essential health and human care services to people throughout the region. Organizers attributed the success of the campaign to a strong network of motivated volunteers and a community of faculty and staff who believe in giving to and supporting the local community. They hope that each academic department and administrative office will be actively involved in this year's effort.

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All donations will be distributed to United Way programs in Mercer County or employees' home communities or to other health and human services agencies that are designated by individual donors. United Way funding is based on three focus areas -- promoting health and well-being, responding to crisis, and strengthening individuals and families.

This year's United Way campaign chair is Bob Pearson, general manager for human resources, and the faculty chair is David Dobkin, dean of the faculty. Pamela Johnson, executive assistant in human resources, is the campaign coordinator.

''Princeton's tradition of supporting the programs of the United Way is a tremendous example of dedication and teamwork,'' said Johnson. ''Our volunteers have been deeply inspired by the ongoing 'what matters' campaign. We have experienced a United Way that researches our community's needs and is able to invest contributions where they are needed most in both known and little-known agencies.''

''Providing solutions for the most pressing needs of our community is what truly matters to all of us,'' added Pearson. ''Be it food for local families in need or shelter for the hundreds of homeless people in Mercer County, the United Way is there. It all begins with our great volunteers, who spread the United Way's message throughout the University.

''The funds raised by our employees through the United Way have helped numerous individuals and families and served to strengthen many communities in our area,'' he continued. ''This year, our goal is to increase participation on campus as well as to increase the funds raised and to give more to those in need.''

The University will contribute 15 cents per dollar for all gifts made by payroll deduction. For all other types of donations, the University will contribute 10 cents per dollar.

Donors can choose to make general or specific contributions. They can provide contributions that are divided among all United Way-supported programs, among all programs in an area of interest or among all except for a particular program. With a minimum gift of $52, they can designate a contribution to a United Way in their home community, to any specific program supported by the United Way or to any charitable health or human care organization with a 5013c tax status that is not supported by the United Way. While the historic focus of United Way is on home communities, it also is possible to direct gifts to agencies that provide health or human care in other countries.

As an incentive to giving, the first 200 people who make a United Way donation will receive two free tickets to the Princeton-Harvard basketball game at Jadwin Gym on March 4. At the end of the campaign, there will be a special drawing for an assortment of prizes for all employees who donated to the United Way.

As they have in the past, United Way campaign volunteers will distribute pledge cards. Faculty and staff who have questions or need another pledge card should contact their departmental campaign volunteer, check the United Way home page at <www.princeton.edu/pr/uw> or contact the main campus coordinator, Pamela Johnson, at 258-2430 or <pamelaj@princeton.edu>. Plasma physics employees should contact the lab's United Way campaign chair, Rosemarie Fuchs-Smith, at 243-2416 or <rfuchs@pppl.gov>.