Events galore: York’s campaign reaches the $75,000 mark

York’s 2009 United Way Campaign is now in its final phase. Donations from York community members to the University’s campaign have reached $75,000 to date.

"The amount raised will help the city’s most vulnerable," said Yvette Munro, York’s manager, community relations and the University’s United Way Employee Campaign chair. "Making a pledge is simple and you can donate either by cheque, credit card or payroll deduction.  For many employees, payroll deduction is the most convenient method of giving.

"A donation of $10 per pay provides three months of healthy breakfasts for a class of elementary school children," said Munro. "A donation of $50 per pay provides a safe night of shelter and food for six homeless individuals."

The United Way of Toronto has tied for first place among charities with revenues over $10 million. This is the second year in a row that the charity has received this honour at the 2009 Voluntary Sector Reporting Awards, a program launched by Queen’s School of Business and the Chartered Accountants of Ontario. The awards recognize charities that are leaders in transparency, accountability and reporting in the not-for-profit sector.

"This is an important award as it gives donors and volunteers in the York University community the confidence and assurance in the work of United Way Toronto and its 200 health and social service programs," said Munro. "For those community members who have not already made their donation, I hope they will take a moment and complete the online pledge form they received by e-mail.

"If you wish to donate online and have not received or have lost your e-mail request, please send an e-mail to If you wish to receive a blank pledge form, please call me at ext. 77529 or send me an e-mail and I will send you a paper pledge form," said Munro.  

Campaign news

The York University Bookstore is supporting York’s 2009 United Way Campaign with the launch of its "Give a Loonie" initiative just in time for the holiday season and winter academic session. York staff, faculty and students are encouraged to add a dollar more to their final bill at check-out to support the campaign. One hundred per cent of the funds raised will go directly to the campaign.

A new date is in the works for the highly popular University Events & Community Relations (UECR) "Not Your Average Spelling Bee" contest. The spelling bee is being rescheduled to January 2010 and an exact date will be announced in YFile this week. Four-person teams interested in competing in a fun "Jeopardy-style" competition should register on the UECR Web site. As with last year’s spelling bee, Faculty of Education Dean Alice PItt will serve as moderator.

The Centre for Human Rights team who were last year’s champions are returning to defend their title as the University’s Best Spellers. This year’s word categories cover a variety of topics including pop culture, text lingo, literature and the Olympics. "Have some fun for a good cause," said Munro. "I hope to see all of last year’s teams return to compete and some new teams registering to test their spelling prowess."

Special event update

"Our special events have been very successful," said Munro. "We have not only raised funds from these events, we’ve also raised awareness about the important work being done by the United Way Toronto."

Right: A flipping good success, the President’s Pancake Breakfast kicked off the University’s United Way Campaign

This year’s campaign kicked off on Oct. 26 with the President’s Pancake Breakfast. The University’s senior administration joined York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri in preparing the pancakes. Staff from Aramark Canada helped everyone involved perfect their technique. The President’s Pancake Breakfast raised $2,000 for this year’s campaign. 

This year also marked the return of the York University Clothing Swap. Always popular with the fashionistas on campus, this year’s event was very successful. It took place on On Thursday, Nov. 12 in the Underground restaurant at the Student Centre on York’s Keele campus. There were lots of eager shoppers and swappers taking part.

Left: Organizers get ready for the 2009 Clothing Swap for the United Way

Organized by the staff in Office of the President, the event raised $365 for the United Way. Aramak Canada donated the door prize, which was a Tim Horton’s Coffee Brewer. Adrijana Koljuskov, coordinator in the Office of the Associate Vice President Academic, won the prize.

The remaining clothing was donated to the New Circles clothing bank, a local service organization that supplies clothing to needy community members as well as repurposing the unusable pieces into material for sewing programs. Members of the New Circles team were onsite to witness first hand the Clothing Swap, and to speak to attendees about the types of services they offer.

"A special thank you to Liz Dexter and her team at the Underground Restaurant, who generously donated the space and set up for the Clothing Swap," said Munro.

On Oct 16, a team of enthusiastic and committed students and staff from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies volunteered at a United Way Day of Caring at Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre, a multi-service member agency located in the west end of Toronto. 

Right: York University’s Day of Caring team

The volunteers toured the centre and learned about the services and programs offered by the centre for children, youth, newcomers and homeless individuals in the community. They spent most of their day helping to re-organize the kitchen and storage areas of the centre’s housing and hostel services. 

"The United Way’s Day of Caring" event is so worthwhile," said Munro. "It provided an opportunity for the students and staff to see first-hand the United Way Toronto’s services in action in the community."

Donations to York’s 2009 United Way Campaign will go toward helping the United WayToronto fund 200 health and social service agencies that deliver quality services and programs in employment support, healthcare support, hunger and homelessness prevention, neighbourhoods, newcomers, people with addictions, people with AIDS/HIV, people with disabilities, women who have been abused, seniors and young children.

"Let’s fill the campaign thermometer in with York red and help the United Way of Greater Toronto," said Munro. "If you have not sent in your pledges, please take a minute to do so and help York reach its 2009 goal of $200,000. We are almost halfway there.Congratulations to everyone."

For more information, or to make a donation, contact Munro at ext. 77529 or e-mail her at