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UA Cares kicks off campaign for community donations

A+chain+of+red+and+blue+links+symbolizing+intentional+acts+of+kindness+lay+on+the+grass+of+the+UA+Mall.+Tucson+charity+organization+Bens+Bells+challenged+various+departments+at+the+UA+to+complete+1%2C000+acts+of+kindness.+UA+Cares+is+an+opportunity+for+UA+employees+to+provide+donations+through+the+UA+Foundation%2C+which+in+turn+go+to+student+and+faculty+programs.
Chastity Laskey

A chain of red and blue links symbolizing intentional acts of kindness lay on the grass of the UA Mall. Tucson charity organization Ben’s Bells challenged various departments at the UA to complete 1,000 acts of kindness. UA Cares is an opportunity for UA employees to provide donations through the UA Foundation, which in turn go to student and faculty programs.

The UA Cares campaign, where faculty and staff contribute a variety of donations to nonprofit organizations, is underway and will last until Nov. 18.

UA Cares started its first campaign in the fall of 2002 and has since raised $4.3 million for the community. Employees have donated their time and money to the campaign and to organizations outside of the UA.

Money given to the institution is then put back into programs that benefit students and staff.

RELATED: UA Foundation plans to expand funding, double fundraising efforts

Sheila McGinnis, director of outreach and community partnerships for UA Cares, has been working with the campaign for the last four years.

“Last year we donated $308,000 which was up 14 percent since the prior year,” McGinnis said. “That’s money that goes to both non-profits and university programs.”

Donations can me made in multiple ways, McGinnis said.

“It’s our one time of the year that we have the opportunity to give through payroll deduction,” she said.

The deduction is set up to continually deduct a gift each paycheck or a single monetary donation can be given.

“We partner with the UA Foundation and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona,” McGinnis said. “Because without those partnerships we couldn’t provide people the choices that we do. They can give to any recognized non-profit.”

When it comes to volunteering time, staff and students will continue to serve in programs like the Community Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and the Pima Animal Care Center, according to McGinnis.

“We have [an event] that has been going on since 2002, it’s the budget office’s annual chorizo breakfast,” McGinnis said. “That is one of the most popular, they sell out every year in the basement of the Administration building.”

McGinnis said that the students love the event which is scheduled for Oct. 28.

McGinnis hopes to see an increase from the year prior.

“I would like to see at least a 20 percent increase over last year,” McGinnis said. “I feel confident we can do that because we have a great honorary chair this year with Chief Brian Seastone from UAPD.”

Seastone said he jumped at the opportunity to assume the honorary chair position.

RELATED: The Ben’s Bells Thousand Acts of Kindness challenge closes with demonstration by Old Main

“It’s a real honor for me to do this,” Seastone said. “It really falls right in line with our department motto of partners with our community.”

One program that will receive a specific focus is the UA Campus Pantry.

“The Campus Pantry helps our faculty, staff and students who are just in hard times,” Seastone said. “It’s an opportunity for the community to really help those stay healthy … it’s just such a great program.”

Michelle Sun, executive director of the UA Campus Pantry said it is appreciative for UA Cares’ support.

“We also are really grateful for having a little more spotlight on our organization,” Sun said. “The UA Cares campaign visibility is just going to give us the opportunity to serve more students, to serve more people here within our community.”


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