University of Western Ontario's efforts for the United Way received top marks yesterday as the school donated more than $339,000 to the charity's fundraising campaign. "This is an outstanding contribution," Helen Connell, executive director of the United Way of London and Middlesex, said of Western's $339,219 donation.
"It takes a lot of people to run a campaign the size of Western's. I am always impressed by how they find the time . . . to make this work happen."
The total money raised -- a 10-per-cent increase over the total raised by UWO last year and $14,000 higher than this year's goal -- was announced yesterday at the University Community Centre, an event that marked the last major donation United Way will receive in this campaign.
Carol Herbert, dean of medicine and dentistry and a co-chair of Western's campaign, called it "thrilling" to see the dollars from staff and faculty pile up over recent months and gave credit to a pair of Western workers who served as the so-called "sponsored employees."
Sarah Bolton and Samantha Johnstone, who both work at the university, were relieved of their normal duties during the campaign to focus strictly on organizing Western's record-setting collection. While the work has been hard and the hours long, Johnstone called it a rewarding experience.
"The people at Western are extremely generous," she said. "People know there's a needy community and they're willing to give."
The Western donation is the second-highest given to the local United Way, behind only Ford/CAW Local 1520's $349,000, but the school tops all others in another category. Western had more leaders, 94, than any other organization. A leader is an individual who donates $1,000 or more.
As the annual fundraising blitz inches toward its $5.6-million goal, Western president Paul Davenport said he's proud of the support his school has shown the United Way.
"Each and every one of us know how important the United Way is," he said. "We know about the continuing problems of poverty . . . in our community.
"We know about the difference United Way makes in the lives of (the less fortunate)."
As the campaign winds through its final week, Connell said all large donations are collected, but there are several individual donations still outstanding.
The United Way of London and Middlesex accepts donations until Jan. 22, when it unveils its fundraising total. To donate:
- Call 438-1721
- Visit www.uwlondon.on.ca
- Drop by 409 King St., London