United Way Drive To Kick Off

As Boston College kicks off its 1998 United Way Campaign tomorrow morning at a breakfast for pledge drive volunteers in Walsh Hall, organizers are hoping to better a campus record set last fall when faculty and staff donated $123,620 to the charity.

"This year we want to collect $125,000 or more in pledges, which is an ambitious goal, but one we're confident we can obtain because of the generosity of the BC community," said School of Nursing Assistant Dean Susan Donelan, who is co-chairing this year's drive with Public Affairs Senior Media Relations Officer Reid Oslin.

Each annual United Way campaign on campus this decade has topped $100,000 while surpassing the previous year's mark. Fifty-one percent of Boston College employees made contributions during last fall's drive, a participation rate Donelan said was higher than that of any other college or university in the area. The average BC contribution was nearly $100.

SON Assistant Dean Susan Donelan and BC Senior Media Relations Officer Reid Oslin are drive co-chairs.

Tomorrow's kickoff breakfast will feature remarks by University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Massachusetts Association of Mental Health Executive Director Bernard Carey, who heads a program that pairs BC student-athletes with inner-city children to build the youngsters' confidence and reading skills.

"The focus of United Way is on helping people in our own local communities, making them a better place to live and work," said Donelan. "A $5-per-week contribution can be used to give four newborns a healthy start in life by providing their first-time parents with two home visits from a trained professional.

"Ten dollars per week connects a teenager, at risk of heading down the wrong path and dropping out of school, with a caring adult mentor for six months. Fifty dollars per week provides a homeless family with temporary shelter, access to affordable, permanent housing, and job counseling and skill training to ensure that the family returns to self-sufficiency."

Donors may ask that their contributions be earmarked for specific community service agencies, or be put in a general fund to be used where most needed. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay goes directly to the needy, according to officials of the charity.

-Mark Sullivan

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