James Larson

Yale and United Way of Greater New Haven will continue their three-decade long relationship with this year’s joint fundraising campaign, titled “Help Today. Hope for Tomorrow.”

Each year, Yale and United Way of Greater New Haven partner to raise funds for the nonprofit, as well as for other organizations in New Haven. According to a University press release, Meghan Dahlmeyer and Fred Borrelli will lead this year’s campaign as co-chairs, taking over from the tri-chairs of the last two years: Chris Brown, Cynthia Walker ’78 and Abby Goldblatt. This year’s fundraiser will also aim to raise slightly less — the total fundraising target for the campaign has dropped from $1.4 million last year to $1.35 million this year. Last year, the Yale-United Way Campaign raised $1.25 million in total.

“In New Haven and surrounding communities, families are experiencing hunger, homelessness, unemployment and many other challenges. An important force for change is United Way of Greater New Haven,” President Peter Salovey wrote in an email, according to an Oct. 14 press release announcing the launch of the annual fundraising effort. “Please join me in providing help today and sharing hope for tomorrow for this year’s Yale-United Way campaign.”

UWGNH is a satellite of the international United Way Worldwide that seeks to improve lives by “mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good,” according to its website. The branch has been serving Greater New Haven for nearly 100 years, according to its website, but its current iteration was formed in 1971 with a merger between the United Fund of Greater New Haven and the Community Council of Greater New Haven.

The organization focuses its work in its 12-town range on three main areas: health, education and financial stability. According to UWGNH President and CEO Jennifer Heath, the nonprofit served 53,112 community members over the last calendar year.

Yale and UWGNH consider last year’s campaign a success, as participation in the campaign by donors increased by 8 percent. It was the third consecutive year of growth in participation, according to Dahlmeyer.

“In partnership with our donors, United Way helps people with immediate basic needs like addressing hunger and homelessness today, and we also invest in long-term solutions like Early Head Start and building financial stability for families,” Heath told the News, explaining the theme of the new campaign. “Yale and United Way like to choose a theme that inspires the community to come together for good.”

Yale has allocated $100,000 in money to match new or increased faculty donations or contributions made by utilizing a payroll reduction mechanism.

Over the last 30 years, Yale faculty and staff have given over $22.5 million in annual Yale-United Way Campaigns, according to the press release.

“When Yale employees make donations to the United Way they can direct their giving to a particular focus area that United Way is working on such as Ending Hunger, Helping Children Succeed through Education or Ending Homelessness,” Dahlmeyer, who also serves as the director of finance and administration for Yale’s West Campus, told the News in an email. “They can also give to the United Way’s Community Fund or a nonprofit of their choice.”

In addition to donating, faculty, staff and other members of the Yale community can volunteer with UWGNH.

Many did so on last month’s New Haven’s Day of Caring, co-hosted by Yale and UWGNH, when volunteers packed a record 37,500 meals to fight against food insecurity in the region, said Dahlmeyer.

“The goal this year is to increase participation and dollars raised to support the greater New Haven community,” Borrelli, who also works as the chief administration officer for the School of Medicine, told the News.

Dahlmeyer and Borrelli are focused on finding creative ways to raise funds across different portions of the University, including through baking competitions, holiday basket raffles and athletic events. Since the two took over, the campaign’s website has been updated to reflect the impact that the campaign has in New Haven and contains testimonies from Yale employees, according to Borrelli.

United Way Worldwide was founded in 1887.

Jose Davila IV | jose.davilaiv@yale.ed


Jose Davila currently serves as a Public Editor of the Yale Daily News. He previously covered Yale-New Haven Relations as a staff reporter and served as a Managing Editor. He is a senior in Morse College majoring in Global Affairs.