United Way Workplace Campaign kicks off with celebration including Marshall, Huntington community members

During+the+United+Way+Workplace+Campaign+kick-off+celebration%2C+attendees+mingled+and+speakers+gave+an+overview+of+what+United+Way+is+doing+in+the+community+Oct.+17.
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United Way Workplace Campaign kicks off with celebration including Marshall, Huntington community members

During the United Way Workplace Campaign kick-off celebration, attendees mingled and speakers gave an overview of what United Way is doing in the community Oct. 17.

During the United Way Workplace Campaign kick-off celebration, attendees mingled and speakers gave an overview of what United Way is doing in the community Oct. 17.

Brittany Hively

During the United Way Workplace Campaign kick-off celebration, attendees mingled and speakers gave an overview of what United Way is doing in the community Oct. 17.

Brittany Hively

Brittany Hively

During the United Way Workplace Campaign kick-off celebration, attendees mingled and speakers gave an overview of what United Way is doing in the community Oct. 17.

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A full day of work did not stop Marshall faculty and staff from attending the United Way Workplace Campaign kick-off celebration Thursday evening. 

“Marshall’s always been a great partner with United Way, so this was a new idea for them to make this an afterwork campaign kickoff to drum up the excitement for what we’re doing in the community,” said Bill Rosenberger, director of resource development for United Way of the River Cities. 

According to its website, “United Way of the River Cities fights for the health, education, financial stability and basic needs of every person in our community.”

“I think that over the last few years, we haven’t gotten the message out,” Rosenberger said. “United Way has been this big abstract, and we’ve not really dwindled it down and said, ‘Hey, here’s what we’re doing in the community.’ So, events like this allow us to tell those stories.” 

The evening was a cocktail mingle event with a brief overview from a few speakers on what United Way is doing in the community and ended with a few raffle prizes. 

One of the evening’s speakers was President Jerome Gilbert who spoke about the importance of being an integrated community and the impact Marshall has on Huntington and surrounding communities.

“I think it’s a great way to get involved and to contribute to the greater good in your community,” Gilbert said. “I hope that we can increase our commitment. Last year we raised $18,000, and I think we touched almost 500 individuals. I’d like to see that number grow this year, so we can reach more individuals.” 

The Marshall campaign will last for approximately a month with an overall goal of $20,000.

“I am excited about the possibility of us exceeding our goal from last year and being more involved in our community,” Gilbert said. “It’s something that means a lot to me to see people helping other people, and that’s what United Way is about.” 

While $20,000 may seem like a large sum of money from one entity’s staff, Rosenberger shared some facts during his talk about how it can and has been done. 

“Did you know the largest Marshall University campaign we have on file in our database was back in 2000 when faculty, staff, administrators raised $66,000,” Rosenberger said. 

Another speaker for the night was Simon Woods, director of operations and safety at the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington. Woods, who has worked several positions over the course of 12 years with the club, shared his experience with some local students and the impact the program, which receives grants from United Way, has had on them. 

“The Boys and Girls Club gets a United Way Impact Grant each year,” said Woods. “The grant we get from United Way goes to directly fund what we call our Power Hour. It’s our academic program. For an hour a day at the club, every kid in the building has to do either homework or tutoring or some sort of academic enrichment activity.”

Woods then shared the up and down struggles a couple of participating students endured over a long course of time due to the opioid epidemic. Woods explained some of the struggles the students faced but how they overcame in the end. 

“On freshmen move-in day, he said to us, ‘You know, we’ve been through a lot while we’ve been coming here, and sometimes it seemed like you were the only people who were always there, who were always there consistently for us,’” Woods said. “’You always made sure that we were fed, you always made sure that our homework was done and sometimes you were the only people there to do that.’”

The contributions made to United Way goes towards helping with programs like this for Boys and Girls Club and several others Woods shared during his talk. 

Boys and Girls Club’s mission is “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” according to its site. 

One other added surprise for the night was a donation to Marshall’s Food Pantry from United Way and the Business Network International (BNI) Pinnacle Chapter. 

Students will have the opportunity to get involved with some student-led events later on that is something that has not ever been done before, according to Rosenberger. 

More information will be going out soon to employees and staff who are interested in donating to the event, according to Will Holland, director of community engagement at Marshall. 

“Go to our website, unitedwayrivercities.org, and really dive into the site to see what we’re doing in the community,” Rosenberger said. “People just don’t realize the programs that we have and the funds that we’re distributing and how they are being used. A lot of people are surprised because it’s the same things that they care about.” 

Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected] 

 

 

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