Please Support Middlesex United Way

This is the time when I ask the Wesleyan community to respond generously to requests to support the Middlesex United Way. Although all of us have many organizations we support, our gifts to United Way raise Wesleyan’s collective voice in support of programs that help our neighbors in need. Wesleyan faculty and staff have long been known as contributors to this community endeavor – a tradition meriting renewed effort. Our goal this year is $130,000 and 50% participation – an ambitious and worthy goal. Those of you who are out of town and want to support these efforts can look here.

When you give to Middlesex United Way, your dollars stay close to the campus community. United Way’s local volunteers distribute your dollars to help neighbors in need – neighbors such as 60 Middletown families at risk of homelessness who remained in their homes thanks to one-time assistance through the Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Prevention Fund. Our dollars have helped the Women & Families Center’s Sexual Assault Crisis Services support more than 800 people, and have contributed to school readiness programs for young children in all 15 towns in Middlesex County. In addition to providing vital assistance locally, Middlesex United Way is an effective catalyst for change, bringing many organizations together to improve all our lives.

This year’s campus United Way campaign also will feature an online auction running from Nov. 1 – Nov. 15. If you can provide goods, gift cards or services, please contact Karen Warren (kwarren@wesleyan.edu).

Changing lives in this way depends upon our support, and your gift matters. Every gift, at any level, matters. If you are continuing your support, thank you. If you are considering a gift for the first time, I hope you will respond with a generous heart.

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Helping our Community Partners

Kari and I went to two fundraisers last week for great organizations in Middletown. That’s one of the “perks” of being Wesleyan’s president: one gets invited to serve on various committees, and one gets to know a variety of organizations doing good work in the region. This year I was an “honorary chair” for the celebration and fundraiser commemorating the 35th anniversary of Oddfellows Playhouse. Oddfellows was founded by a group of Wesleyan students in the 1970s to serve young people in Middletown by providing them with the opportunity to create first-rate theater. They have an educational, social and community mission, and they have remained true to the founders’ vision over a long period of time. The Gala and auction raised significant amounts of money that will have a direct impact on the lives of young people in this area.

The day after the Oddfellows event we were headed to a fundraising dinner for The Connection, a social services and community development organization. Wesleyan philosopher Steve Angle is on their board of directors, and he explained to me that the organization has always had a philosopher there since the 1970s when Phil Hallie served this role. The Connection addresses substance abuse, crime, and community disrepair across the state, and the fundraising event seemed like a great success. Lots of money was raised (and The Shiny Lapel Trio played some great dance music!).

Wesleyan is an important part of Middletown and Middlesex County, and for many years the university has been active in promoting community development. I am one of the Chairs of the upcoming United Way Campaign, which marks the organization’s 75th anniversary. Wes faculty and staff have been consistently generous supporters of United Way, and we will do our best to raise a record amount to mark the 75th! Thanks in advance for everyone who contributes to this effort!

Even our daughter Sophie has gotten into the act. She was just called for her bat mitzvah, and she suggested that people consider a donation to Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center in lieu of a gift. Green Street raised some money, and we have another reason to be proud of our not-so-little girl.

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