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   Date: 3/25/09 Bookmark and Share

Smith Reaches United Way Goal

Smith United Way contributions total $164,117

Despite a gloomy year of economic downslide nationally and locally, the people of Smith College displayed their continuing generosity by contributing a total of $164,117, surpassing the Smith United Way campaign goal of $160,000.

The amount contributed by Smith represents 13 percent of the United Way of Hampshire County’s 2009 campaign goal of $1.2 million. As in most years, Smith is the largest institutional donor to the local United Way campaign.

“The consistent support of the staff and faculty at Smith helps make the annual campaign a success, said John Ebbets, CEO of United Way of Hampshire County. “Without Smith, we would not be able to fund the many great agencies and programs we do each year.

“Our funding in three program areas—children and youth, health and safety, and economic security—helps form a safety net of services for those in need in our community. And the needs this year and next are great.”

The Northampton Survival Center is among the 27 local United Way partner agencies that benefit from Smith’s support. The center distributes a daily average of 2,000 pounds of free food to low-income community members, serving more than 4,000 clients a year. Another United Way partner agency, Safe Passage, provides services to approximately 500 Hampshire County women and children each year who have experienced domestic violence, including responding to 12 to 15 hotline calls a day. 

Smith’s positive influence on the United Way is mutually reinforcing and extends even further than the college community’s monetary support. For example, students and employees of Smith volunteer as mentors through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Smith’s site-based BB/BS mentoring program is being used as a model that is being replicated on other area college campuses. Casa Latina provides information and recommendations to Smith, among other area employers, on how to recruit and retain low-income Latino employees. Smith School for Social Work interns gain experience working with high-risk families through Berkshire Children and Families’ Parent Aide program, while Ada Comstock Scholars serve as Parent Aide volunteers and offer childcare services for parents participating in support groups.

Of course, the need of people in and around the Smith College community continues long after the successful campaign season ends. But with the generosity displayed by Smith employees, more children will eat nutritious meals, more people will sleep in warm beds, more young people will be partnered with positive mentors.

More people will live better lives.

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