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November 8, 2010

Throwing money around: Departmental CFD activities make giving fun

News and Information

Staffers in the Benefits Office really threw their money around on Oct. 29, but it was all for a good cause. They held a coin-toss to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation through the Combined Fund Drive, Washington’s workplace giving campaign.

In fact, lots of campus departments and units are holding their own events to help raise money for the campaign and the 2,800-some agencies it helps support. This year’s theme is “Imagine the Difference We Can Make,” and the campaign runs through Dec. 3 (with a possible week’s extension after that).

Tracy Knotts reacts after a near-miss in the coin-toss she held for members of the Benefits Office to contribute to the Combined Fund Drive. Behind her are Kathleen Dwyer, Jon Petersen and Tony Duenas.

Tracy Knotts reacts after a near-miss in the coin-toss she held for members of the Benefits Office to contribute to the Combined Fund Drive. Behind her are Kathleen Dwyer, Jon Petersen and Tony Duenas.

These departmental do’s take the form of chili and spaghetti feeds, trivia contests, silent auctions, brown bag meetings, bake sales and more. Many departments invite representatives of CFD-supported agencies to visit and tell of their good work and need for continued support, and the CFD folks are happy to help.

“We have campaign staff here who are willing to assist in whatever way they can,” said Kerri Everly, the UW’s CFD campaign manager. That includes helping to plan the event and even contacting charities to send representatives to your campus party.

With cries of “Down in front!” and “Hey, no cluster-bombing!” (tossing handfuls of coins at a time, which actually was deemed OK), Benefits staffers lined up for the chance to toss their saved-up pocket or piggy bank change at a couple of vases in the corner of the break room. Some took a wind-up and pitched them like softballs, some tossed underhanded and some pitched the coins like they were darts.

Twenty minutes later there weren’t many coins in the winning receptacles — they made for hard targets — but the table and corner were sprinkled with coins.

Tracy Knotts, administrative services coordinator, organized the event. “My idea is just to make it fun,” she said. She takes an easy-going approach because “people are asked to give a lot, and you don’t want to sound like you’re pushing them. It should all be volunteer.”

There weren’t many winning throws — which only made the corner fill with coins even more quickly. Hits and misses all became donations; Knotts said that in all, about $100 was raised during the lunchtime event. Benefits Specialist Lisa Lunasco won the coin-toss, with four of her hurled coins finding their targets.

“Any amount helps, and it also helps raise awareness of giving back,” Everly said. “That’s really what the fundraisers are all about — bringing people together for fun and to think about giving.”

Everybody’s doing it. Financial Management and Strategy Management got together to host a carnival at Kane Hall Nov. 2 that offered food, games and even a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by actors with the Seattle Shakespeare Company. The carnival also boasted a “waterless dunk tank” (where the victim drops into styrofoam balls instead of water).

The Chemistry Department is holding brown-bag “Meet the Charity” event Nov. 9 to introduce people to Heifer International and to PAWS.

There are about 300 volunteer Combined Fund Drive coordinators across campus. If you want to plan your own department or office fundraiser, get in touch with your coordinator.