United Way Co-Chairs Call for Thanksgiving Pledges

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The campaign urges the community to donate as a way to remember those who are vulnerable.

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(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
11/20/2016
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To demonstrate the kind of lifesaving work supported by donations to the Dartmouth United Way campaign, Upper Valley Haven Director Sara Kobylenski shared a piece of writing by a recent guest in the Haven’s Hixon House Adult Shelter.

“It took me at least two weeks to believe that I had finally landed in a safe place. I wasn’t sleeping rough, cold and wet on the ground. I wake up each morning in a clean bright room I share with a roommate, where I can go across the hall to a bathroom with a shower and lock the door. I wake up each morning at the Upper Valley Haven, grateful to be here.”

With the holidays approaching, Dartmouth United Way’s co-chairs Gail Gentes and Executive Vice President Rick Mills have invited the community to remember their Upper Valley neighbors who are struggling this season.

“As we prepare to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving, it is also a good time to reach out to the broader community and support those people who are vulnerable or in need with a contribution to the Dartmouth United Way campaign,” says Gentes.

“Regardless of how big or how small, our donations make a world of difference to people right here in the Upper Valley,” says Mills.

WISE Director Peggy O’Neil also underlined the vital assistance the United Way supports by pointing to a handwritten letter WISE counselors received from a woman who’d escaped with her two daughters from an abusive relationship. WISE is an Upper Valley nonprofit organization that offers crisis support for women. 

“Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. My girls and I will never forget what you did to help us. You helped me show my girls that domestic violence is never okay. We are doing well and will never forget you,” the woman wrote.

The stories told by Kobylenski, and O’Neil reflect the important work going on right now through more than 40 United Way agencies in the Upper Valley, says Granite United Way Director Rob Schultz.

By joining friends and colleagues in giving to the campaign, each person’s donation, no matter what size, has the power to make positive change, he says.

“We are fortunate that there are so many vigorous, local nonprofits in the Upper Valley who serve our community,” Schultz says. “The generous support from the Dartmouth community makes the United Way campaign a success and allows us to sustain these organizations. We are grateful.”

United Way pledge forms went out to all Dartmouth faculty and staff via Hinman mail in October. Contributions can be made by filling out the form and putting a pledge in the return envelope by Friday, Dec. 16.

Donations can be made as one-time contributions or throughout the year via payroll deductions. Designated payroll deductions will begin in January 2017. Donations can also be made online at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~unitedway.