The ‘NAU Factor’

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For half a century, the employees of Northern Arizona University have offered their time, creativity and generosity to help the United Way of Northern Arizona make lasting, positive change in community conditions.

The “NAU factor” was particularly evident this year, as our annual campaign chairs were none other than NAU President Rita Cheng and her husband, Tom, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NAU’s W.A. Franke College of Business.

But the Chengs were part of a team of almost 200 NAU volunteers who ran numerous events and contests to benefit the United Way.

They began early in the school year, getting the word out at the President’s Welcome Barbeque. Employees who donated to the United Way were entered into a raffle with awesome prizes, including tickets to the President’s Suite at a home football game, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra tickets and gift certificates for two to the 1899 restaurant on campus.

There was a “basket” raffle, with prize-filled baskets created by individual departments, as well as that classic of all school-based fundraising – the baked goods sale! “NAU also hosted the Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, where entry and registration fees directly benefited the United Way

Some of NAU’s contribution was not in the form of cash, but cans; the university held food drives to benefit our Weekend Backpack Program, which provides easy-to-prepare meals to elementary school aged children battling chronic food insecurity.

As another commitment to the United Way, the university is working to create a student United Way chapter to facilitate connections between the students and the community, foster the spirit of philanthropy, and begin running a student campaign.

Many thanks to the Chengs and all the Lumberjacks who were part of this year’s United Way campaign. You are a superb example of what #LivingUnited can achieve.

This year’s United Way Fundraising Campaign begins in July. Workplace campaigns are a large factor in the success of each year’s campaign – and in ultimately changing our community for the better. Please contact Steve Peru, President & CEO of United Way of Northern Arizona, for information on how your business can play a part.