Rice’s ‘short, sweet’ United Way campaign raises record-breaking $239,413

Rice has once again demonstrated its commitment to giving back to the community with a new high in donations — $239,413 — for the United Way of Greater Houston.

“Because of our collective effort, we have hit a new record,” said University Representative Y. Ping Sun, lead donors chair for the campaign. “Thank you. You are amazing.”

United Way

Rice United Way Campaign staff chair Tina Villard (left) and faculty chair Wade Adams revealed the total donated at a Power of One Picnic in the Central Quad Dec. 9. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

Campaign faculty chair Wade Adams and staff chair Tina Villard revealed the total, which was 20 percent more than the campaign’s original goal, at a picnic celebration held in the Central Quad Dec. 9.

“In our campaign appeals, we pointed out that one person really can change the world, one person at a time,” said Villard, director of the Gibbs Recreation Center. “That’s why today’s celebration is the Power of One Picnic — a chance for us to celebrate the power that everyone has to make this a better community for all who live and work here.”

“When we started our planning last spring, we knew that we wanted this year’s Rice United Way campaign to be short and sweet,” said Adams, associate dean of engineering. “We cut the duration of the campaign in half, so compared to previous years, it was definitely short. And we surpassed our goal, so that’s pretty sweet.”

Campuswide, the university had a participation rate of 24 percent, with 771 donors. The Wiess School of Natural Science had the highest total contributions — $26,177 — as well as the most lead donors, 13. For the third year in a row, the Office of Public Affairs and the Investments division tied for the highest participation rate — 100 percent — and Housing and Dining had the most total number of donors, 128. Representatives of those areas received framed certificates at the celebration.

Y. Ping Sun

University Representative Y. Ping Sun, lead donors chair for the campaign, thanked everyone for their generosity in helping Rice hit a new donation record. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

Beth Tobias of the United Way of Greater Houston thanked the Rice community for its “incredible generosity.”

“What a difference it is going to make to so many in the community,” she said. “Last year we touched the lives of more than 2.4 million people. Think about what we’re going to be able to do this year with such incredible results.”

President David Leebron, honorary chair of the Rice campaign, agreed: “For more than 90 years, the United Way of Greater Houston has been the social services safety net for our community. Whatever the challenge, they do something about it every day, working to make this a better community for all who live and work here. I am very proud and grateful that Rice employees continue to support this organization and the many local programs it funds.”

It’s not too late to make a contribution to the Rice United Way campaign. Because many employees traditionally make their charitable contribution decisions during the winter break, pledges will still be accepted through the end of the first week of classes and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. To make a payroll pledge that divides your gift over all your 2015 paychecks, visit esther.rice.edu or pledge by cash, check, credit card or payroll deductions using the pledge form found online at http://rice.edu/unitedway.

Honorary chairs of the Rice United Way Campaign were Leebron and Board of Trustees Chairman Bobby Tudor ’82. A dollar-for-dollar matching gift by Tudor and his wife, Phoebe, contributed to the campaign’s success. Greg Marshall ’86, director of university relations in the Office of Public Affairs, was the campaign manager.




About Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a senior editor in the Rice's Office of Public Affairs.