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Ash Soni, Paul Helmke to lead 2022 United Way campaign

By IU Bloomington Today

September 19, 2022

The 2022-23 Indiana University Bloomington United Way campaign officially launched this week with the theme “Rebuilding Community. Rebuilding Hope.”

Ash Soni, interim dean of the IU Kelley School of Business, will co-chair the campaign with Paul Helmke, director of the Civic Leaders Center and professor of practice in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The two will preside over a kickoff lunch Sept. 19 in the Indiana Memorial Union for IU’s campaign volunteers.

“There are numerous organizations, nonprofits and causes designed to support the community,” Soni said. “United Way helps bring those resources together with expertise, funding and volunteer support for the greatest possible impact — and as a faculty and staff body, we can really make a difference through our support.”

Helmke co-chaired the 2021-22 campaign with Mattie White of IU Athletics.

“I’ve lived in this community for a long time,” Helmke said. “You can see United Way working to eradicate inequities and essentially build a bridge across the community that sets everyone up for greater success. I am proud to be associated with this organization.”

The 2022-23 campaign will continue to focus on paperless pledges routed through the online ePledge portal that was introduced last fall. Kirk White, IU’s vice provost for external relations, assistant vice president of strategic partnerships for IU and the IU-United Way campus campaign manager, said that moving to an online donation system was an ongoing discussion for years before the eventual adoption of ePledge, which was sped up by the pandemic. Paper pledge cards remain available upon request.

“We want to make donations as easy as possible,” White said. “Just like with the pledge cards, the ePledge system offers IU donors the ability to earmark donations for specific organizations or causes, as well as the ability to sign up for easy payroll deduction. So if you want to donate $120 total for the year, for example, you can arrange to have just $10 taken out of your paycheck each month.”

IU Bloomington remains the largest contributor to the campaign. IU employee donations made up 64% of the 2021 United Way of Monroe County annual community campaign, with 1,100 IU employees contributing more than $692,000. This year’s goal is $720,000.

In addition to team captain and unit leader positions, volunteers can serve as ambassadors who advocate for the campaign and share its importance through personal networks. For more information about volunteering with the IU United Way Campaign, contact IU United Way Campaign Coordinator Catherine Blankensop.

About United Way

United Way of Monroe County serves Monroe, Owen and Greene counties, supporting 24 local nonprofits and 15 community programs in the areas of education, financial stability, health and basic services. It helps address the current needs of each community while connecting people with empowering educational and earning opportunities that support their independence from future safety net services. Each year, one in three lives in our community is touched by United Way of Monroe County services.

The existing IU-United Way relationship was strengthened in 1990, when Ellen R. Ehrlich, an early champion of the agency, founded the Vanguard leadership giving program. That initial philanthropic spirit has expanded into a campus-wide effort that now relies upon 30 volunteer team captains across campus, more than 80 unit leaders and two co-chairs.

Past co-chairs include Deputy Director of Athletics Mattie White, former Kelley School of Business Dean Idie Kesner, Vice Provost for Enrollment David Johnson, former secretary of the IU Board of Trustees Debbie Lemon and Executive Associate Athletic Director Anthony Thompson. This is the only nonprofit officially supported by the university, and it directly resonates with one of IU’s core values: respect for the dignity of others.