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Annual campaign to provide funds to local agencies, support Athens County residents

’Tis the season of giving, and Ohio University is honored to be kicking off its annual “United 2 Give, United 2 Help” campaign in support of United Appeal for Athens County and its numerous partner agencies.

OHIO employees will be receiving donation information about this year’s fundraising campaign in their University mailboxes. The University’s 2014-15 United Appeal Campaign Committee has set a goal of 12 percent participation among OHIO’s faculty and staff and a campus-wide fundraising goal of $50,000.

“When you look at the overall goal, it can seem somewhat daunting,” said Bethany Venable, chair of this year’s United Appeal campaign at OHIO and director of internal communications at University Communications and Marketing. “But I know that the collective generosity of Ohio University faculty and staff will help us reach that number and, more importantly, help others in our community.”

Serving the local community for 63 years, United Appeal for Athens County helps area residents meet their basic needs by helping to support health and human service programs throughout the county.

In Athens County, more than 30 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line. United Appeal for Athens County uses the funds raised by the University’s campaign and other fundraising efforts to improve the quality of life for area residents, providing assistance to more than 30,000 people annually.

“In the case of United Appeal, people can be assured that their money is going to be used to help people meet their needs immediately, that it will be well used and that it will be used in Athens County,” said Pam Harvey, executive director of United Appeal for Athens County. “Their donations go toward helping agencies they’re familiar with, and it’s a great way to keep their gift very local.”

This year United Appeal for Athens County is partnering with 16 local agencies, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County, Live Healthy Appalachia, the Athens County Child Advocacy Center and the Athens County Food Pantry. The missions of the partner organizations range from helping children, teens and people of all abilities levels thrive, offering assistance in times of crisis and instability, supporting people coping with mental illness and making quality healthcare available to all.

United Appeal also operates a free community resource directory, Athens County 2-1-1, which connects residents with comprehensive and up-to-date information on social, health and government services. In addition to providing an online database, Athens County 2-1-1 contracts live call specialists who speak multiple languages, allowing people the ability to “Get Connected” and “Get Answers” 24/7.

Last year more than half of Athens County residents utilized one or more of the services supported by United Appeal, and approximately 12,000 people were assisted by Athens County 2-1-1.

OHIO faculty and staff have a few different options when it comes to giving and are able to specify which of the partner agencies they would like their donations to benefit. While completing the pledge form, donors indicate whether they would prefer to make a one-time gift or enroll in Ohio University’s payroll deduction. Donations can be made using cash, check, credit card or PayPal.

All gifts are tallied at the conclusion of the campaign, and United Appeal’s board takes into account the donations to designated agencies before allocating the maximum amount of remaining funds among the 16 partner agencies.

Fundraising effort to benefit local agencies, services

This year’s United Appeal for Athens County fundraising campaign will benefit the following agencies and services:

Athens County 2-1-1

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County

Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council

Havar Inc.

Live Healthy Appalachia

Passion Works

Tomcat Bridgebuilders

Athens County Child Advocacy Center

Athens CASA/GAL Program

Athens County Food Pantry

Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio

My Sister’s Place

Hocking Athens Perry Community Action Southeast Ohio Food Bank

The Gathering Place

Hopewell Health Centers Inc.

OhioHealth Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses, Hospice and Health Services

Ohio University Community Health Programs

This year’s United Appeal committee

The following Ohio University employees are serving on the 2014-15 United Appeal Campaign Committee:

Bethany Venable, chair, University Communications and Marketing

Mary Alexander-Conte, University Human Resources

JR Blackburn, University Advancement

Jim Harris, University College

Joe Lalley, Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration

Laura Myers, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Stephen Patterson, Psychology

Andrew Stuart, University Libraries

Eileen Theodore-Shusta, University Libraries

Megan Vogel, Division of Student Affairs

Angela Woodward, University Communications and Marketing