By 'Doing Good,' Employees Support Local Groups

Annual employee giving campaign has raised more than $469,000 dollars

Duke employee donations and volunteer efforts helped make possible the construction of Maplewood Park for families and seniors in Durham's West End neighborhoods. Photo by Duke University Photography.
Duke employee donations and volunteer efforts helped make possible the construction of Maplewood Park for families and seniors in Durham's West End neighborhoods. Photo by Duke University Photography.

Since starting in mid-September, this year's "Doing Good in the Neighborhood" program could be the most successful yet - and it's not over.

From Sept. 16 to Nov. 1, 755 faculty and staff pledged $469,092 - about 80 percent of last year's total campaign pledges. With a "soft" deadline of Dec. 9 for donations, faculty and staff have a month left to contribute by payroll deduction, credit card or electronic check. As an incentive to give, weekly raffles offer prizes like gift certificates to local eateries to a randomly selected contributor.

"By giving through Doing Good in the Neighborhood, Duke employees make a real difference in Durham and the region through community-based philanthropy," said Phail Wynn, vice president of Durham and Regional Affairs. "Our gifts have a meaningful and tangible impact in the work of our local schools, neighborhoods and non-profit organizations."

Money raised through the Doing Good program is given directly to about 30 organizations and programs supported through the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership and the Duke University Health System. These contributions are not subject to any administrative fees, so the entire contribution goes directly to support organizations in local neighborhoods.

Since arriving at Duke in 2008, Patrick Charbonneau has taken part in Doing Good in the Neighborhood. As a Durham resident, he said he wanted to offer his support to a program that creates strong bonds between Duke and Durham. 

"A lot of us may have resources and little time to volunteer, so I like that I can still provide something to a worthwhile cause," said Charbonneau, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry who upped his monthly payroll deduction from $20 to $50 for this year's campaign. "I thought I'd invest in a cause I really care about."

While Charbonneau contributes to the Community Care Fund, which provides grants to local organizations, donations from Duke employees can be sent to one or more specific categories supporting schools, youth, Durham neighborhoods, local health organizations, and the United Way of the Greater Triangle.

One of the organizations that benefits from Doing Good is Durham's Partnership for Children, a nonprofit that funds programs to focus on early childhood education, child health and early intervention, and family support. Angelica Oberleithner, assistant director for Durham's Partnership for Children, said that money from Doing Good in the Neighborhood will fill a gap after funding for the state's pre-kindergarten program was cut. She noted the Doing Good funding will allow the organization to continue to provide a bilingual staff and high-quality early education programs.

"This partnership links Duke and the community and it means we can continue to have a role in the lives of children," Oberleithner said. "It shows Duke's commitment to the community and that faculty and staff really care about education from an early age."