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UT charity gives back to NW Ohio

By Danielle Gamble
On October 17, 2012

An annual UT charity campaign is giving students, faculty and staff a chance to give back to Northwest Ohio through early December.

The UT Community Charitable Campaign, or UTC3, benefits Community Health Charities, Earth Shares of Ohio, Northwest Community Shares and the United Way of Greater Toledo. In turn, these organizations support hundreds of local charities.

Vicki Riddick, chairperson for the University of Toledo Charitable Campaign, said the campaign is meant to raise both money and awareness of local charities.

“We encourage people to think about their community and their neighbors,” she said. “We’re fulfilling the mission of UT by enriching our community and giving back to those less fortunate.”

While the campaign has raised $81,000 so far, the goal is to reach $175,000 by the Dec. 7 donation deadline.

“We’ve always been very close to the goal, though giving has been down these past few years given the economy,” Riddick said. “But it’s not just the monetary dollars — it’s about awareness.”

Riddick said it allows participants to pinpoint charities they care about in an organized fashion.

Employees who wish to donate submit a form by Dec. 7 that will allow them to donate straight from payroll, either by giving monthly or with a lump sum. On the form, they can choose up to four charities to donate to from a list on the back or write the name and city of any local 501(c)(3) health and human service nonprofit.

“From an employee perspective, this allows them to decide the time of year to give and to think ahead,” Riddick said. “Especially this time in the economy, when so many people have turned from the fortunate into the less fortunate, it’s a great opportunity to give.”

Although the project has traditionally focused on faculty and employee giving, the committee wanted to find a way to attract students to the event.

“This year, we really focused on students — not giving monetary donations, but volunteering and donating time,” Riddick said. “We know our students are already highly engaged in community, but we wanted to just encourage in their efforts.”

Riddick said some of the project ideas included a day or weekend of volunteer efforts, similar to the university’s annual Big Event.

“We understand students don’t have dollars to give,” she said. “We would never ask for money from students. People give for many different reasons, and monetary giving isn’t necessarily the most important one.”

SG Vice President Chris Dykyj said he and SG President Paulette Bongratz are working with other members of the executive branch to gauge student interest through student organizations.

“We’re in planning stages right now and we’d like to see it implemented this semester, but nothing is set in stone,” Dykyj said.

Dykyj said if plans are not finished this semester, he and Bongratz will work with UTC3 and develop plans for next year.

“It will be helpful to smaller organizations… that are already trying to do volunteer activities because it will be helpful for them to get that promotion and visibility,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get more student orgs on the map and give students more opportunities to give back.”

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