January 16, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 59  

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Western to United Way: $339,219

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

The poor, crippled, infirm and downtrodden of London can rest easily tonight because Western has given a big sack of money to the United Way.

The United Way campaign at Western raised $339,219, said Western President Paul Davenport, noting this year’s amount surpassed the goal of $325,000. “We set an ambitious goal this year,” he said.

“We’re still working our way to a $5.6 million goal — but thanks to [Western], we’re closer,” said Helen Connell, executive director of the United Way of London and Middlesex.

Western students were among the contributors to the campaign, noted University Students’ Council VP-student affairs Matt Huether.

According to Huether, many of the events were highly successful, such as the Stair Climb at the CN Tower in Toronto and the student-organized pumpkin toss held on the Concrete Beach in October. “I know [Western] participants were the [largest] group at the Stair Climb,” he said.

Huether added it was the smaller fundraisers that collected the most funds for the United Way, saying it was “mostly little things, but that’s how it works.”

“This is entirely hard work by our volunteers; where the magic comes in is when we start spending the money,” Connell explained, citing the money will benefit various community services to assist children in poor families, low-income senior citizens and others in need. “That’s the kind of magic you’ve made possible.”

“Even when people are stretched, they think of others,” said Carol Herbert, dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry and co-chair of Western’s 2003 United Way campaign.

Davenport pointed out the amount raised is indicative of the close relationship Western and the United Way share, adding the university has a long history of staff working with the charity. “Western is the leading institution in terms of the number of United Way leaders in London.”

Connell acknowledged Western has tight relations with the charity in this endeavour. “They’ve been long-time supporters of the United Way.”

According to Connell, the amount is not final, as there is still money to be collected from various sources, noting that even when the campaign ends next week, the money will not be completely counted.

Western managed to raise $309,000 last year and raised the goal to $325,000 for this campaign, Davenport said, “Every time you set a record in charitable giving, the expectation is to set a new one.”



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