Employees Give Back Through UA Cares

Employees Give Back Through UA Cares

By Alexis BlueUniversity Communications
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Employees will compete for the UA Cares trophy, a moving sculpture created by Ned Schaper, better known in the art world as Mat Bevel. (Photo courtesy of Holly Altman)
Employees will compete for the UA Cares trophy, a moving sculpture created by Ned Schaper, better known in the art world as Mat Bevel. (Photo courtesy of Holly Altman)

A little friendly competition is expected on campus during the next few weeks as the annual UA Cares employee giving campaign gets under way.

During the event, which began Tuesday and will continue through Nov. 25, University of Arizona employees will work to raise money for the University and the Tucson community through creative fundraisers and personal donations, while competing for the coveted UA Cares trophy, awarded annually to an outstanding campaign contributor.

Coordinated by the Office of Community Relations, UA Cares asks employees to donate to any UA program area through the UA Foundation or to any nonprofit organization through the United Way.

During a kickoff breakfast held Tuesday, Steve MacCarthy, vice president for external relations, told campaign organizers, coordinators and nonprofit representatives that nearly 1,300 UA employees raised almost $400,000 for 150 nonprofits and 100 University programs.

"The reach of this is really significant," MacCarthy said.

Besides the rewarding feeling that comes with giving back, one campus unit also will enjoy the UA Cares trophy, a recycled art piece with moving parts made by local artist Ned Schaper (aka Mat Bevel) that was awarded for the first time last year. (Read more about the Trophy in the article "UA Cares Awards New Kind of Trophy.") The trophy currently belongs to University Libraries.

While UA Cares is all about giving back to the community it's also an opportunity for employees to have a little fun.

The campaign gives employees a chance to show off their creative side, said Jaime Gutierrez, associate vice president for community relations.

For example, innovative fundraising events like the Facilities Management Chili Cook Off and UA Budget Office Chorizo Breakfast and Raffle have become UA Cares traditions. Last year's creative fundraisers also included the sale of an employee-compiled cookbook by people in Business Affairs and an "I Dare You" challenge in the Office of Student Financial Aid, in which money was collected in jars labeled with dares and dares that earned the most money were carried out by employees. (Watch some of the dares being performed in this video.)

The country's economic struggles make it an especially important time to give back, said Holly Altman, director of outreach and community partnerships in the Office of Community Relations.

"Many people get a step up through philanthropy and, in an economic time like this, even more people benefit," Altman said. "We all need to be in this together to make things better."

There are several ways employees can make donations. Besides participating in fundraisers in their units, they can donate online through Employee Link. (Donations cannot be made through the new UAccess Employee system.) Or they can make a donation using a paper pledge sheet. Employees in units with UA Cares campaign coordinators can get a pledge sheet from them, or they can download a form from the UA Cares Web site.

UA Cares is unique in that it gives employees an option to give back to the University community or the Tucson community at large, Altman said.

While employees can donate to any UA program through the UA Foundation, the foundation is emphasizing the Arizona Assurance program, a financial assistance program established by President Robert N. Shelton to help low-income Arizona students attend the UA. And while donations can be made to any nonprofit through the United Way, the organization has identified three main focus areas for the year: education, health and income. 

For more information, visit the UA Cares Web site.

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