Nov. 18, 2020

Why we give

Three UCalgary employees share their reasons for becoming leadership donors to United Way
Jodie Jeworski's son Nathan

People support United Way for many different reasons — because it allocates money where it’s needed most or works with local charities to make a difference in the community — but some have had a personal experience with a charity or organization that receives funding from the United Way. These are the reasons that stick with us.  

Three university employees shared the stories that inspired them to make leadership gifts of $1,200 or more to UCalgary’s United Way campaign, showing that any reason for giving is the right one.  

Because her baby needed care at the Alberta Children’s Hospital  

Jodie Jeworski, manager, compensation and recognition, Human Resources, became a leadership donor in 2019, only a short time after her one-year-old son Nathan, pictured above, was rushed to a trauma bed at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.  

The sound of choking and coughing woke Jeworski, who rushed to Nathan’s room to find him unable to breathe properly.  

“He was hysterically crying and throwing his head back to try to breathe,” she says. “When we got to triage, they took one look at Nathan, did quick vitals, and rushed us to a trauma bed. I didn’t even have time to hand over his Alberta health card.” 

Nathan received life-saving treatment to reduce the swelling in his airways. He was diagnosed with croup and kept overnight for observation.  

It was a frightening experience for Jeworski and her family, but she says the medical care they received was incredible.  

“As a relatively new mother, I had no idea what croup was or what was happening,” she says. “The doctors and nurses all treated us with the utmost of care, respect, and empathy.” 

Jeworski directs her entire United Way donation to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, so they can continue providing the same level of excellent care to other children and families.  

Because United Way helped her finish high school  

This is the first year that Nora Molina, director, career services, Student and Enrolment Services, has given to United Way at a leadership level, but her connection to United Way started years ago when she was 16 years old and pregnant.  

She moved to Calgary to attend the Louise Dean School for teenage mothers, a program funded through the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School Board and supported by United Way.  

“If not for that program, I’ve often wondered if I would have even graduated high school,” says Molina, who continued her education at UCalgary, earning a BA and an MBA. “In all my education pursuits, graduating high school is still hands-down the hardest goal I’ve ever achieved, and I still think it was the most important one. That was made possible because of the school boards and the United Way.” 

Because the lightbulb went on  

Ray Patterson, Haskayne Research Professorship and Area chair, Business Technology Management, has been a leadership donor to United Way on and off since 2001.  

Early in Patterson’s career, he wanted to enhance his resume with some volunteer work, so he approached his local United Way chapter and became a board member for a charity funded by United Way — a daycare centre providing subsidized care to the children of low-income women.  

“The program enabled the mothers to work and provide for their family,” says Patterson. “That experience of seeing how important the United Way organization is to making real change happen in the community was an important lesson for me — a light bulb turned on, and we’ve always included United Way in our giving strategy since.”   

Become a leadership donor   

A payroll deduction of $50 per paycheque makes you a leadership donor and after applying the tax credits, your $1,200 donation costs only $552.   

It’s a great year to become a leadership donor. First-time donors of at least $1,200 will have their contributions matched dollar for dollar. If you’re an existing leadership donor, any increase above last year’s contribution will also be matched.  

You can learn more about leadership giving here and, when you’re ready, you can donate to the UCalgary United Way campaign online by logging in with your UCalgary email/account here. 

Register to attend Leaders in Social Innovation in support of United Way  

Join this special session on how members of our community are embracing innovation and entrepreneurial ideas while investing United Way dollars to serve our local community in local and tangible ways. At this online opportunity to gather with our colleagues from across campus we will hear from Jeff Dyer, CEO of Trellis, and Beth Gignac, COO of United Way of Calgary and Area on innovation in the social sector, including the new ideas and methods needed to face of our current reality with creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. 

Wednesday, Nov. 25, noon to 1 p.m. Register now.  

Not ready for leadership giving? Take part in 20 for 2020  

The pandemic has been challenging for us all, but vulnerable Calgarians have been especially affected. This year, UCalgary is challenging the campus community to take part in the 20 for 2020 initiative. If you haven’t given before, give $20. If you donate monthly or annually, increase your contribution amount by $20 or 20 per cent.  

You can also donate $20 to purchase unlimited Givin’ Thanks stars for your colleagues. It’s the first time these cards have been available online, and the initiative has already raised $3,115. Stars are only available to send until Dec. 11, so send yours soon.   

Show your local love 

Having a common purpose brings us together, makes us stronger and creates community. That might look like helping local families put food on the table, connecting Calgarians with crucial mental health services, or providing people a sense of belonging and inclusion. When we stand united to help others, we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and create ripples of positive impact. Give today to United Way.

If you have questions or require assistance with donating, contact DJ Kelly, manager, community engagement at 403-220-3152 or