United Way campaign

Oct 31, 2002, vol. 25, no. 5
By Diane Luckow

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SFU donates to the United Way annually, but this year for the first time the university is also providing a loan.

That loan is not money but the manager of the arts co-op program Paulette Johnston, (left) who is spending 16 weeks working for the United Way of the Lower Mainland helping to organize the campaign.

“I became aware that other educational institutions were sending a loaned representative to the campaign, but SFU had never loaned somebody,” says Johnston.

Johnston approached John Waterhouse, VP-academic and with his support and the support of President Michael Stevenson she became one of 55 loaned, sponsored or volunteer representatives working on the annual fundraising campaign.

All involved seem to benefit from this arrangement. The United Way doubles its fulltime staff while keeping overhead to a minimum. In Johnston's case, the university pays her salary.

Sometimes companies or institutions that can't provide a representative will donate enough to sponsor a representative. For the university, it is an opportunity to raise its profile in the wider community below Burnaby Mountain.

The co-op program benefits from the new contacts that Johnston makes in the Lower Mainland while her colleagues in the program at SFU get an opportunity to move into different jobs while she is at the United Way. For example, Caroline Rose a co-ordinator in the program, is now acting manager. “It's also an opportunity for me to experience something similar to a student's co-op work semester,” says Johnston.

At the United Way the loaned representatives are given a week of intensive training then divided into teams that focus on different sectors. “My team was given the health education and agencies sector,” Johnston explains. “Each member is assigned several accounts.” Johnston helps the various agencies with their fundraising campaigns, determining such details as the length and goals of their campaign and helping organize events.

At the end of her 16-week tenure at United Way, Johnston will write a report for President Stevenson. She is hoping that SFU will continue loaning a representative and that there will be a competition for the job.

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