Illustration by Soren Frantz / Photo Editor

Keene State College’s annual fundraiser for (MUW) Monadnock United Way is here, and it is more important now than ever to raise money.
With an ongoing pandemic and people remaining jobless or even homeless, Monadnock United Way’s Director of Resource Development and Community Engagement Katie Gardella said they must reach their goal of $1.277 million this campaign season to continue to be able to support those in need.
“It is absolutely crucial we hit that goal if we want to continue to fund agencies at the level we have been,” Gardella said. “It is needed now more than ever.”
MUW is an organization with a mission to achieve a vision of a region free of child abuse and neglect with educational and economic opportunity. MUW holds a campaign every year to raise money which goes to agencies focused on childcare, service care, education and jobs. According to Gardella, much of the funding comes from public institutions like Keene State College.
“Keene State is a major institution in the region,” Gardella said. “When an organization like Keene State comes through with a great campaign, other institutions look at that and are inspired.”
According to Gardella, MUW has worked with the college on more than just campaigns. She said the college’s childcare center facility is participating in a program that was spearheaded by MUW called the Pyramid Model, a collection of positive behavior intervention methods designed for teachers, caregivers and other professionals who work with young children and their families.
Although the overall goal for the campaign is $1.277 million, the Owls won’t have to donate that much. According to the college’s Project Manager with Behavior Health Institute and Campaign Chair Nicole Sauber, the college’s goal is to beat and exceed last year’s fundraiser, which raised $10,888. This campaign began on October 13 and will run through November 28. Sauber, who was a former employee of MUW from 2015 to 2020, said that so far, the college has raised 20 percent of that goal.
To raise this money, Sauber said Keene State employees have been given the option to take a payroll deduction which goes to the fundraiser, or people can donate to MUW on their website muw.org. Sauber added that everyone who donates is entered into a raffle. One of the prizes is an iPad mini which was donated by Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell.
Gardella said that MUW’s ability to help the community was greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“We’ve heard from agencies that clients are even more stressed now with layoffs and furloughs,” Gardella said. “We have homeless on the rise. People are still out of work. These are people that are living on the edge anyway and then they lose their job. Families that were stressed before are stretched to the limit now. Everything that has happened since the beginning of lockdown in March has made more stress for these individuals who are already vulnerable.”
Gardella added that the agencies funded by MUW are struggling as well.
“Our childcare agencies are dealing with kids not coming because parents are at home now,” Gardella said. “They’re losing money on children not attending. So there’s less kids, less money and more employees.”
Gardella added that for those who have never donated to MUW before, 2020 is a good year to start. She said those who wish to donate can visit muw.org, or they can text MUW to 4144.
“No amount is too small,” Gardella said. “Believe me, five dollars is going to help.”
Under normal circumstances, Sauber said there would be events held to support the fundraiser, like last year’s Pumpkin Lobotomy. This year, there won’t be any events, but Sauber remains hopeful that the college can reach its fundraising goal.
“I’m optimistic,” Sauber said. “KSC is incredibly generous. Our neighbors are struggling, so it’s important that we help them out. I’m hopeful that KSC is able to give in a way that is consistent in the past. What people need is consistent support and if MUW and KSC can offer that then it will benefit everyone in the long run.
Sauber added that it’s important for organizations like Keene State to understand their impact on the community and how they can help.
“Contributing to the campaign is a symbol of helping our neighbors and the community,” Sauber said.
Anyone who wants to do volunteer work for MUW should email Campaign and Communications Manager Kate Cote. Cote said that volunteer opportunities are a little “interesting to schedule” right now as a lot of their partner agencies are not letting folks on site. However, they typically have availability for single volunteers and MUW currently needs some help with the solicitation side of the annual campaign which would involve fundraising and ‘thank you’ phone calls.
“Opportunities are structured to the interest of the potential volunteer; when I get an inquiry I ask the individual what they like to do, what their strengths are and if they have a particular passion for a certain nonprofit sector,” Cote said. “Then I try to best fit them with a project and agency.”
Cote can be contacted via email at kate@muw.org.

 

Hunter Oberst can be contacted at:
news@kscequinox.com