Family Campaign surpasses goal

Thanks to the extraordinary commitment of faculty, staff and retirees, the York to the Power of 50 Family Campaign has surpassed its goal and is still going strong in support of York University and its students.

More than 2,060 University faculty, staff and retirees have made donations or pledges since the launch of the York to the Power of 50 campaign. The results top the goal to have 2,009 participants by the end of 2009, York’s 50th anniversary year.

Right: From left, York to the Power of 50 Family Campaign co-chairs Professor Ron Pearlman, Nancy Accinelli and Professor Ross Rudolph

“We’re absolutely delighted by the response of our past and current colleagues and not at all surprised,” says Ron Pearlman, Family Campaign co-chair and a professor in the Department of Biology. “York’s family members have a long history of caring about the future of our University and its students.”

Family Campaign donors gave to the areas of the University that meant the most to them, including athletics, the York Libraries, research and student aid. A significant number of current and former faculty and staff members supported scholarships and bursaries established in honour and in memory of colleagues. The Daniel Simeoni Fund for graduate students in financial need, for example, was formed after Daniel Simeoni, a professor in Glendon’s School of Translation and director of the school’s master’s program, died in 2007. Donors also celebrated the life of late Glendon English Professor Janet Warner through the Janet Warner Travel Fund to benefit Glendon students. As well, York faculty established the York University Undergraduate Student Hardship Fund to provide financial assistance to students in response to the strike. So far, $58,548 has been raised through the generosity of over 80 faculty, staff and retirees.

The campaign has benefited from the leadership of Pearlman; Ross Rudolph, a political science professor and senior adviser to York’s vice-president academic; and retired staff member and York University Retirees Association Co-President Nancy Accinelli. Together with a team of hard-working and enthusiastic volunteers from various Faculties and departments, the co-chairs are helping to raise awareness and create a campus-wide culture of giving.

“Support from faculty, staff and retirees matters for more than its financial benefit,” explains Rudolph. “When those who know York best step forward with a gift, they set an example for the greater community.” All told, York’s faculty, staff, retirees, alumni, corporations, foundations and friends have contributed more than $180 million toward the $200-million York to the Power of 50 campaign goal.

“York’s family has had much to do with our success to date,” says Cathy Yanosik, vice-president, operations, York University Foundation. “To those who have contributed so generously with their gifts of time and resources, we send a heartfelt thank you.”

York’s Family Campaign co-chairs aren’t ready to close the books yet. “Students need our support now more than ever,” says Pearlman. Building on the success of the Family Campaign and in celebration of York’s 50th anniversary on March 26, faculty, staff and retirees are invited to support the 50th Anniversary Bursaries and Awards Program, created to provide critical, expendable funds that can be distributed to students right away.

“It’s been an extraordinarily difficult year for students," says Pearlman. "The funds will relieve some of the financial burden of paying for school and allow students to focus on their studies and their involvement on campus and in the community.”

“There is an opportunity now for us to show students that we are aware of their difficulties and care enough to provide direct assistance – by giving to support them financially,” says Accinelli. “Certainly times are tough for all of us, but our students are more vulnerable financially and need us to give now."

Applications for student financial aid at York are up by 18 per cent this year and officials expect the numbers to continue to rise.

Faculty, staff and retirees who haven’t yet had a chance to show their support for students in financial need can give through the Family Campaign mailing due in mailboxes this week.

To make an online donation now, click here.