Campus News

Campaign for Charities gets underway

From now until Dec. 15, UGA faculty and staff can do their part to create positive change that directly improves the lives of others through the 2017-2018 Campaign for Charities.

The theme for this year’s campaign, which provides faculty and staff an opportunity to donate to more than 1,400 charitable organizations that are part of the State Charitable Contributions Program, is “State Change, Pledge Today!”

“The annual Campaign for Charities is of particular importance to the University of Georgia,” said Ryan Nesbit, vice president for finance and administration and honorary chair of the campaign. “The university community has a very strong tradition of rallying around the cause and contributing generously to hundreds of charities here in Athens and across the state that participate in the annual campaign.”

Last year, the campaign raised $389,416 with 15 percent of faculty and staff participating. Nesbit said he is confident that UGA can continue that success this year with a goal of $400,000 and 15 percent of faculty and staff participating.

Nesbit pointed out that the campaign offers a range of ways to assist causes that matter to the local community and to the state of Georgia.

“It’s important this year, with all of the challenges that we see, not only in Georgia but also around the country and throughout the world, that we give and give generously,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “You will make a difference. I hope you will find something—some cause—that is worthy of your support and your commitment so that you will feel a part of something bigger than yourself.”

One such cause highlighted at this year’s kickoff breakfast is Mercy Health Center, a faith-based primary care clinic that provides free health care to uninsured patients in Athens-Clarke County and surrounding communities. Tracy Thompson, executive director, and Gale Nyseth, office manager, spoke about how support like the Campaign for Charities allows them to provide 27,000 hours of volunteer service and the equivalent of $1 million in care.

Nyseth knows about that care firsthand. She found herself without insurance after a divorce and job loss and turned to Mercy Health Center for help with her chronic health condition. She used the pharmacy as well as the dental and counseling programs. Nyseth became a Mercy volunteer while she was a patient and continued to volunteer once she got back on her feet. She joined the staff full time this past winter.

“A recitation of the services Mercy provides doesn’t capture the essence of the place,” Nyseth said. “Mercy is a place of love. Love kind of oozes out of the people there. Mercy’s 15 staff members and hundreds of volunteers are at Mercy because they want to serve.”

Mercy Health Center’s connection with UGA extends to the learning experience as well. The center works with the School of Social Work, the College of Pharmacy and the School of Law on various services and experiential learning opportunities for UGA students.

All UGA employees will receive information about this year’s campaign through their unit’s Campaign Captains. Faculty and staff are encouraged to return the pledge card via campus mail or make a pledge online at Donations are anonymous.

For those who return pledge cards or donate online, the university will hold weekly drawings beginning in early November for prizes such as parking credits, athletic event tickets and gift cards.