Category: United Way

Giving for United Way Highest in UA’s History


By Diane Kennedy-Jackson
Publications Coordinator, Division of Community Affairs

Faculty and staff from across campus gathered on the lawn of the President’s Mansion Nov. 21, a beautiful autumn day that provided a perfect backdrop to mark the conclusion of the 2019 UA United Way campaign.

Members of the Million Dollar Band set the tone for the occasion, and they provided a perfect drum roll as Big Al and his Arts and Sciences friends flipped the oversized presentation check to reveal the campaign giving total of $483,807, a figure that not only crushed the $395,000 goal but also set a new record for the largest giving total in campaign history.

Dr. Joseph Messina, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, this year’s host college, thanked the members of his team, who played an integral role in the 2019 campaign. He also acknowledged the support provided by the staff of the Division of Community Affairs, as well as the work of the campus coordinators.

“Behind the scenes, but very, very important are all the campus coordinators,” said Messina. “There are many campus coordinating team members . . . they’re scattered throughout every unit, every college, and they’re critical to making this a successful operation.”

Messina also thanked UA President Stuart R. Bell for the opportunity to host the campaign.

“We had a great time doing it,” Messina said.

Bell thanked all who play a role in making the campaign successful, noting the giving nature, in both financial resources and time, of UA faculty, staff and students. He spoke about how the annual campaign provides an opportunity to band together and make something big happen for the community.

“I think this is one of those times where we come together and realize that at The University of Alabama, we are a community, but, more than that, we are a part of this community,” said Bell. “I couldn’t be more proud of our staff and those who contribute to this program to make sure that Tuscaloosa and West Alabama is served in the way that it deserves to be served.”

Campaign Treasurer Caroline Railsback said each year she recognizes a group or area that has significantly increased its giving total or participation rate over the previous year. This year she recognized UA retirees, noting that while they always give generously, this year they gave 51 percent higher than last, raising $52,480.

Campaign co-chair Charles “Skip” Snead acknowledged the efforts of those who have been a part of the campaign. He also jokingly reminded those present that when  they met at this location two months ago for the Campaign Kickoff, Big Al wrote a  big check to cover the fundraising goal, and that  the group would soon have an opportunity to learn the status of his bank account.

Bell, Big Al, the College of Arts and Sciences team and Jackie Wuska, chief executive officer of United Way of West Alabama, joined Snead near the podium for the big reveal, after which Big Al could breathe a sigh of relief, because this was a day for celebration.

Wuska thanked everyone for their support and introduced Campaign Chair Norman Crow, president of D T Freight, who closed the celebration.

“I cannot express to you the gratitude that we have for this great support that we have gotten from The University of Alabama,” Crow said. “I want to thank Dr. Pruitt, Dr. Bell and the great team from Arts and Sciences and all of you for living united and for helping us meet the needs of this community. Thank you so much. Roll Tide.”


The Division of Community Affairs leads the annual UA United Way Campaign with a structure that provides opportunities for UA colleges and administrative units to host the campaign each year. The United Way of West Alabama has 26 partner agencies and plays a vital role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Partner agencies from Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties provide a variety of education, income-related, health and emergency-response programs to citizens throughout West Alabama.

UA Launches 2019 United Way Campaign



By Diane Kennedy-Jackson
Publications Coordinator, Division of Community Affairs

The lawn of the President’s Mansion was filled with anticipation on the afternoon of Sept. 19 when The University of Alabama launched its 2019 UA United Way Campaign. Music by the Million Dollar Band greeted more than 250 guests as they gathered under the large white tent that graced the lawn, setting the tone for the afternoon.

The host college for the 2019 campaign is the College of Arts and Sciences, and the theme they chose — The Art and Science of Giving — is fitting not only for the college but for the campus as a whole, which has combined the art of caring with the science of giving to contribute collectively in a manner that has consistently exceeded the annual campaign goal for many years.

Dr. Stuart R. Bell, UA president, greeted those gathered and thanked them for their service, year after year, which helps ensure the success of this annual campaign that supports the United Way of West Alabama (UWWA).

“We, as a University, as a family, believe in giving back to our communities and I am certainly honored that The University of Alabama, year after year, shows our commitment to the United Way of West Alabama,” said Bell. “It’s a statement of who we are as a University that we rise up through our campaign and we serve those around us.”

Campaign co-chairs Charles “Skip” Snead, professor and director of the School of Music, and Dr. David Cruz-Uribe, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, shared that the theme was carefully chosen as an accurate representation of the host unit, and because it shares a two-fold message.

The theme itself reflects the 22 departments and programs that comprise the College — 22 different ways of knowing about the human condition. Our giving and our reasons for giving also reflect all the different ways of knowing. While some are numbers people (the science), others take a more abstract approach (the art).

They shared that one in four people throughout West Alabama, or approximately 190,000 individuals, are benefited by our donations. Further, that money is used incredibly wisely by UWWA, with 90 cents of every dollar donated flowing back to the community. And ultimately, our efforts are about community.

“Every day, in every way, each one of us in our community depends on others to do their part, whatever that part may be,” said Snead. “The United Way is a very tangible process in which we see this connection to our community come together.”

When it was time to reveal this year’s goal of $395,000, a $10,000 increase over the previous year’s goal, Big Al took the lead, running to the podium with an oversized check to unveil the goal amount and make the first pledge, which covered the entire campaign goal. The problem? Big Al doesn’t have any money. That means that we all need to help him meet — or exceed — his pledge!

In addition to the campaign co-chairs, other members of the College of Arts and Sciences staff serving on the campaign are Pamela Young, director of outreach programs and initiatives, who is the loaned executive for the campaign, as well as Stephanie Kirkland, director of college relations, Kaylee Crenshaw, event coordinator and Lynn Phillips, executive secretary.

The campus coordinating committee supporting the College of Arts and Sciences includes representatives from the Division of Community Affairs, the Division of Finance and Operations (UA Printing, Auxiliary Services, and Facilities) and the Division of Strategic Communications, as well as Faculty Senate and the Professional Staff Assembly, the Student Government Association, The SOURCE, The University of Alabama Retirees Association and a host of committee members and department-level coordinators.

The United Way of West Alabama has 26 partner agencies and plays a vitally important role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Partner agencies from Bibb, Fayette, Green, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties provide a variety of education, income-related, health and emergency-response programs to citizens throughout West Alabama.

For more information about United Way of West Alabama, its partner agencies and their services, visit uwwa.org. For information about the UA United Way Campaign, contact Whitney Sewell, Division of Community Affairs, at whitney.sewell@ua.edu or at 205-348-5743.

UA Crushes Annual United Way Campaign, Reports Largest Giving Total in Campaign History


By Diane Kennedy-Jackson
Publications Coordinator

Athletics Director Greg Byrne welcomed more than 100 people to the UA United Way campaign celebration Nov. 28, thanking all who worked on the campaign for their efforts in making 2018 another successful year. He gave a special nod to Intercollegiate Athletics, this year’s host, as well as to the Division of Community Affairs, the campus coordinators and all who contributed financially.

“United Way touches so many wonderful organizations,” said Byrne, “and that benefits our community, that benefits our youth, and people who really just need help to do things in their lives that a lot of us take for granted on a daily basis. It’s wonderful that the University supports the United Way. It’s wonderful what the United Way does for our community.”

Caroline Railsback, operations coordinator in the Office of Finance and UA United Way campaign treasurer, noted, “Normally we have a static presentation of the total, but this year we are going to have a moving presentation.”

Railsback was referring to the logistics of the event, which began in the North Field Suite at Bryant-Denny Stadium and culminated with a host of University and United Way representatives, UA pep band, cheerleaders and Big Al in the north end zone for the big reveal.

Utilizing the technology available at Bryant-Denny, Intercollegiate Athletics raised the bar for this annual event. As the presentation check was revealed, the final total was also displayed on the Jumbotron screens throughout the stadium. That check, for $469,483, provided a visual reminder of what happens when champions unite to crush a $385,000 campaign goal.

“Championship teams have quite a few characteristics,” said Marie Robbins, senior associate athletics director and co-chair of the UA United Way campaign, “Among them are great talent, working together and maximum effort, and you know we had all of those things here with the teams we put together.

“We were inspired from the beginning with our theme, Champions United: A Tradition of Caring, Serving, and Giving,” she continued. “We embraced that as a host division.”

Following the check reveal, a pre-recorded video thank you featuring Jackie Wuska, president and chief executive officer of United Way of West Alabama, and Jordan Plaster, 2018 campaign chair, was shared via Jumbotron while the names of the 26 United Way partner agencies appeared on the electronic ribbon that surrounds the field.

It was a fitting celebration for a campaign that realized the highest dollar giving total in UA’s United Way campaign history.


The Division of Community Affairs leads the annual UA United Way Campaign with a structure that provides opportunities for UA colleges and administrative units to host the campaign each year. The United Way of West Alabama has 26 partner agencies and plays a vital role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Partner agencies from Bibb, Fayette, Green, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties provide a variety of education, income-related, health and emergency-response programs to citizens throughout West Alabama.

 

UA Aims for Record Goal in 2016 United Way Campaign


Photos by Jianlong Yang
CCBP Student

Members of the University community joined the College of Continuing Studies (CCS), host of the 2016 United Way campaign, on Thursday, Oct. 6 for a Campaign Kickoff event at the Ferguson Center Plaza on campus. This year’s goal is a record $365,000 — a $20,000 increase from the 2015 goal — with an additional emphasis on increasing the percentage of employees participating in the campaign.

The tailgate-themed event brought beautiful, unseasonably warm weather as UA campaign administrators, partner-agency representatives and leadership-level donors gathered to launch the annual effort.

“The theme for this year’s campaign, UA CARES: UNITED WE THRIVE, represents the spirit of the faculty, staff and students as demonstrated through our service and generosity toward those on our campus as well as those in our surrounding communities,” said Dr. Stuart R. Bell, UA president, in a letter to the campus community. “Our partnership with the United Way of West Alabama plays a vitally important role in our efforts to improve the quality of life for individuals in West Alabama.”

UA is consistently the largest institutional contributor to the United Way of West Alabama campaign, holding the distinction of being the No. 1 employee campaign in total dollars pledged since 2001. Additionally, the University is the current SEC leader in percentage of employees contributing to local United Way campaigns.

CCS Dean Craig Edelbrock, in welcoming those in attendance, took a playful swipe at the “orange and blue” institution “down the road” for using UA’s United Way success as motivation to increase its participation … “and they moved up from fifth to second. What a great competition between two universities in Alabama!”

Bell spoke of the importance of the campaign and how it knits together organizations that help the community. “Thank you for what you all do, every day,” he said, acknowledging partner-agency representatives at the event.

Jackie Wuska, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of West Alabama, thanked the University community for its support, recognizing the service leadership attitude at UA. “We are the envy of everyone in the SEC,” she said. Then, in reference to that school down the road mentioned earlier, she good-naturedly encouraged UA to “crush the Lee County spirit.”

Campaign co-chairs from CCS are Bill Elrod, director, business development and college relations; Dixie MacNeil, director, academic outreach; and Dr. Robert Prescott, director of corporate engagement. The campus coordinating committee supporting them includes representatives from the Division of Community Affairs, UA Printing, Auxiliary Services, Financial Affairs and Facilities, as well as the Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Assembly, the Student Government Association, The SOURCE, The University of Alabama Retirees Association and a host of committee members and department-level coordinators.

United Way of West Alabama has 26 partner agencies and covers Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties. These agencies provide a variety of education, income-related, health and emergency-response programs to citizens throughout West Alabama. For more information about United Way of West Alabama, visit uwwa.org.


Get weekly updates on the campaign progress.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.