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The 2018 Yale-United Way Campaign kicked off on Oct. 15 with a University-wide email from University President Peter Salovey.

This year’s campaign — which is organized through a partnership between Yale and local nonprofit United Way of Greater New Haven — aims to raise $1.4 million by the end of the semester. The local chapter of the national organization United Way Worldwide works to increase the quality of education, ensure financial stability and provide health care for Elm City residents and 11 other municipalities in the Greater New Haven region.

“By being part of this effort, we can show our neighbors that we see them, we value them and we want to help,” Salovey said in the email.

Yale has partnered with United Way for the past three decades, raising more than $21 million in the process. Last year, the campaign raised approximately $1.35 million from 1,650 donors. So far, this year’s campaign has raised $310,494 from 509 donors.

According to Brian Mezzi, UWGNH’s Assistant Director of Resource Development, participants can either choose to donate to the organization’s general fund or towards one of the organization’s five focus areas: hunger, homelessness, mental health, education and financial stability.

“The dollars that are invested in UWGNH go right back into the community,” Mezzi said. “Last year, from a UW [United Way] perspective, just shy of $6 million dollars was invested into New Haven — and obviously some of that included dollars from the Yale campaign.”

According to Mezzi, United Way partners with a variety of organizations to achieve their objectives. He specifically emphasized UWGNH’s work with Early Head Start — a program that provides child-development services for low-income families in New Haven and neighboring towns.

This campaign is just one of United Way’s many fundraising efforts. In fact, Mezzi said the nonprofit runs campaigns with 150 different companies and organizations across the 12 towns in which it works.

One difference between this year’s “Yale in Action” campaign and previous efforts is a more robust partnership with the University Athletic Department, said campaign co-chair Abby Goldblatt. Goldblatt noted that United Way will ramp up its advertising at athletic contests by hosting events such as a family-friendly United Way tailgate at the Nov. 3 Yale football game against Brown University.

“We’ve gone to things before, but we’ve firmed up more of an ongoing partnership,” Goldblatt said.

Another deviation from previous years is the addition of a student representative on the campaign’s Core Committee. According to Mezzi, the committee consists of individuals from several University departments who manage the fundraising and work to broaden the campaign’s impact. These departments include the Yale College Printing Service and West Campus.

Yale College Council President Sal Rao ’20 told the News that she was selected to serve on the Core Committee over the summer.

“Coming into my role with the YCC, I knew that I wanted to bridge the gap in understanding and improve the relationship between Yalies and the New Haven community,” Rao said. “But it was hard to map out how to implement this vision — how [to] make actionable change from this high-level goal. The Core Committee gave me the perfect framework to do just this.”

United Way Worldwide was founded in 1887.

Aakshi Chaba | aakshi.chaba@yale.edu