University faculty and staff donate more than $152,000 to United Way


Bob Christy

Kent State University the number one donor to the United Way of Portage County, celebrates a successful 2013 campaign, raising $152,771.92 for the United Way of Portage County. Pictured are Stephanie Rummel, director of development at the United Way of Portage County; Steve Kleiber, president and CEO of the United Way of Portage County; Iris Harvey, vice president for university relations at Kent State; and Todd Diacon, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Kent State. Photo courtesy of Kent State University.

Lyndsey Schley

The University raised $152,771.92 for the United Way of Portage County during their latest campaign.

Over the last four months, the University asked faculty and staff to donate money to the organization, said Iris Harvey, vice president for University Relations.

“Philanthropy is something you do from the heart, not obligation,” Harvey said, “It’s not mandatory. So, we were very grateful that so many people gave.”

The goal this year was to triple the amount of employees who participated, Harvey said.

“We wanted to spend time focusing less on a specific amount and to spend more time on encouraging more employees to give,” Harvey said. “This year, we had about 112 more employees give than in the previous year.”

The United Way is a great organization for finding reputable causes to donate to, Harvey said.

“United Way is one of the bellwether national organizations that has system in local communities where people can choose a philanthropic opportunity through their workplace,” Harvey said. “It’s an efficient, organized way to give to non-for-profit organizations that have been vetted. We know that the money will go for what it’s intended.”

Donors can decide to donate to specific program or a community fund, said Steve Klieber, United Way of Portage County president and CEO.

“If they give those dollars to the community fund, those dollars are then given out by community volunteers to 43 different programs to help people in need across Portage County,” Klieber said. “These programs can be anything from afterschool programs to programs for seniors or childcare centers. It can also be for programs that help people just get clothing, utilities and food assistance. We help thousands each year through the programs we fund across Portage County.”

Kent State University runs the largest United Way Campaign for the county, Klieber said.

“Across the community, they’re over 10 percent of what we raise in the community,” Klieber said. “We are a small organization. We only raise [a little over $1 million] each year. Kent State has really taken a lead in terms of being a community leader by providing the support and being part of what’s going on in the community.”

The current economy has created many needs in the local community, Harvey said.

“Our Portage County is one that has poverty rates that are at or above the state [average],” Harvey said. “I am very grateful to have a wonderful job at Kent State and I think many of our employees feel the same way. It’s a way for us to share and demonstrate that we care about our neighbors.”

Three colleges and five departments, divisions or offices exceeded or met their goals, Harvey said. The College of Business Administration, the Honors College and The College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology all met their goals, as did the Athletics Department, the Division of Human Resources, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of the President and the Division of University Relations.

Harvey encouraged more donations in the future.

“Next year’s campaign will start soon, and we want them to give even more,” Harvey said.

Contact Lyndsey Schley at [email protected].