October 20, 2006

Community givers get creative

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Community givers get creative

Arinetta Utley was one of many winners at the VMG Business Office’s party to kick off its participation in the Community Giving Campaign.
Photo by Andrea Bailey

Arinetta Utley was one of many winners at the VMG Business Office’s party to kick off its participation in the Community Giving Campaign.
Photo by Andrea Bailey

Vanderbilt's 2006 Community Giving Campaign, “Your Gift. Your Choice,” is gaining momentum as the Nov. 1 deadline for participation draws near.

This year's goal is $825,000, and campaign partners are Community Health Charities of Tennessee, Community Shares, Nashville Alliance for Public Education and the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.

Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and this year's campaign chairman, is asking Vanderbilt's 18,000 employees to help.

“We want everyone to participate because even a small donation makes a big difference,” said Gabbe. “Our campaign is in full swing, and I'm constantly amazed by the enthusiasm and creativity on the department levels.”

Margaret-Ann Koontz is a first-time team captain who has taken on her additional role with gusto, targeting 100 percent participation among the Anesthesiology department's 200 employees.

Working with the full support of department chair Michael Higgins, M.D., Koontz has developed a plan to include a personal touch in every communication. She's enlisted the help of administrative staff from each of the 10 divisions in her department, which hosted its own kickoff luncheon that included speeches from the federation representatives.

“They gave overviews and honed in on specific examples of how we can help make positive changes in our community,” said Koontz. “It was so helpful that the federations are coming back and talking to several of our divisions as well.”

Linda Haley, of the Vanderbilt Medical Group business office, has been a campaign team caption for three years. She and co-captain Linda Eggleston kicked off this year's efforts by hosting a carnival at nearby Fannie Mae Dees Park. The 140 employees were treated to lunch and carnival games with a campaign message.

This year Haley is encouraging the online giving option as a convenient way to participate. She thinks it will help her department surpass their previous participation level of 87 percent.

“We try to make participating in community giving fun,” said Haley. “When you give, you just feel better.”

Alyce Dobyns-Ladd, Graduate Medical Education coordinator and first-time team captain, is handling the campaign for VUMC's 560-plus residents. She believes the key to successful giving is understanding the audience. Residents don't have much time, so she is communicating online and using e-pledging as the primary way of raising participation.

And it's working. The residents have already surpassed previous years' participation goals.

“We want people to donate whatever they can comfortably give,” said Dobyns-Ladd. “It's about participating.”

Dobyns-Ladd is personally committed to this campaign. She has agreed to shave her head if her department reaches 50 percent participation, which would also be a new participation record for the group.

For more information about the 2006 Community Giving Campaign, call 343-8759, e-mail community.giving@vanderbilt.edu, or visit www.vanderbilt.edu/community_giving.