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About the Twin Cities Community Fund Drive

The Community Fund Drive is the University of Minnesota’s annual charitable giving campaign which provides an easy way for employees on the Twin Cities campus to donate to local nonprofits that enrich the community. The Community Fund Drive partners with six area federations that represent nearly 500 agencies/charities: the Greater Twin Cities United Way, Community Health Charities of Minnesota, Community Shares of Minnesota, the Minnesota Environmental Fund, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and the Homeless, and UNCF. The campaign kicks off October 1 and continues through the end of the month.

The Community Fund Drive has a long and distinguished past since it was founded by President James Morrill during the Great Depression in 1931. Since 1995, the Community Fund Drive has raised $17.8 million. In 2013, 36 percent of employees on the Twin Cities campus donated more than $1.3 million to the community.

Faculty and staff can donate online, or via a paper form, and make either a one-time gift or have their donation taken out of their pay check each pay period. Gifts can be made to a federation, an agency/agencies within a federation, an outside charity (501(c)3), or a combination of all of three. Funds raised during the campaign go directly to the organization selected by the employee, however a small portion of the donations are retained by the federation to cover the costs of processing the gift. In addition, employees who pledge their support are entered to win weekly prizes with a final grand prize drawing in November.

The Community Fund Drive is guided by two co-chairs and a committee of lead volunteers and ambassadors from employee groups across the campus. These lead volunteers recruit grassroots volunteers from their colleges or units to host events to raise awareness, raise funds, and have a little fun, too. Participation rates by college and unit are reported online each week to inspire giving.

Please send your questions and suggestions to Thank you!

Community Fund Drive Co-Chairs

2014 co-chair
Bill Donohue

Bill Donohue

General Counsel

I have worked for the University since 1982 and have had the opportunity to work with and represent people in virtually all parts of the organization. All of the people I have encountered are committed to public service and bring to that service a caring and generous spirit. We care about the welfare of others. This is expressed every day in our work but is epitomized by our willingness to share our good fortune with others who have not been so blessed. My hope is that you will join us again this year by donating to the charity of your choice.

2014 co-chair
Eric Schwartz

Eric Schwartz

Dean of Humphrey School of Public Affairs

As a relative newcomer to the Twin Cities, having arrived here less than three years ago, I have been so impressed and moved by the sense of compassion and civic engagement that characterizes this very special community. Community agencies in this region tackle social and economic challenges with a degree of forthrightness, energy and commitment that serve as model for other parts of our nation and our world. But they can only do so through the generous support of all of us. So please help us to sustain this great tradition of leadership providing assistance to individuals and organizations that need our help.

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Contributed Testimonials

Linda Schintz
Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development
"I give every year and earmark my donation to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Twin Cities because I was a single parent of two wonderful sons. Each of them had a big brother thru this program and it helped me tremendously. My oldest son kept in contact with his Big Brother right up until he passed away and then was a pall bearer at his funeral. My younger son still has contact with his Big Brother. It's a wonderful program that I will continue donating to."

Joe Timmons
Institute on Community Integration
"I contribute to the U of M Community Fund Drive because I know that my donation will almost entirely serve individuals directly and won't be used for marketing or other non-essential expenses. "

Elizabeth Anderson
Office of the General Counsel
"I give because it feels good………there is need everywhere………if we don’t help others, how can we ultimately nourish our spirits? How can we not give of ourselves?"

Mary Blissenbach
Libraries Archives and Special Collections
"I give to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and Caring Bridge. I have had epilepsy since I was 12. The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota provides programs to connect and empower those affected by seizures and epilepsy. Adult and family connect groups, an art and writing contest, and education in schools are just a few of the many programs the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota provide. The summer of 2011 my seizure rate increased and I was evaluated to see if surgery could be an option for me. During this time, I used Caring Bridge to stay in touch with family and friends. It was awesome to be able to connect with friends in this way and get the messages from friends on the Caring Bridge page. In early 2012, I had brain surgery to eliminate the seizures and both the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and Caring Bridge were there for me."

"I give back to these charities so that the next person to deal with what I went through, can have these tools to help them."

Nancy Baker
Family Medicine and Community Health
"Each year I designate a contribution to the United Way's Plymouth Youth Center (PYC) due to their commitment to help at-risk youth succeed. It's great to be part of this University effort and to join my peers in this important endeavor."

Karina Carlson
Carlson School of Management
"I give because it is these kinds of organizations that helped my friends and me growing up and it is good to know that others will benefit and hopefully grow in some way due to my contribution."

Jason Grode
Facilities Management, Landcare Department
"I have given to the Community Fund Drive for the past couple of years and I earmark my funds to go directly to The Diaper Drive, Minnesota's first and only non-profit Diaper Bank that my wife and I founded and currently serve on the Board of Directors. The Diaper Drive gives new diapers (disposable or cloth) to Minnesota babies and adults in need. My donation is conveniently withdrawn from my paycheck every 2 weeks, and I know the funds are going directly to help families right here in the Twin Cities and around the state of Minnesota. The Community Fund Drive is a wonderful program that I will continue to donate to."

Sherri Boone
Capital Planning/Project Management
"I have given annually as long a I've been in the workforce because I believe that "to whom much is given, much is required." As I look back over my life, it is confirmed that I have been given gifts and talents that are best used in service to others. Much has been given to me along the way by others who came before me, and it is only when I am in service to others that I am my best self. So, I give monetarily and of my time in my community and I find as I do that the reward is so much greater than I could have imagined."

Leah Milojevic
College of Liberal Arts, Student Services
I give each year to the Minneapolis Public Schools through the Greater Twin Cities United Way because it is my small way of supporting the school district that gave me so much from Kindergarten to 12th grade. As an educated person in the world, I have to ask myself what am I doing for my community? Giving is a small way to show my community that I care."

Joel Anderson
University Information Security
"'Blessed to be a blessing' sums it up. There's so much need, why not share with others when I can?"

Becky Boudreau
MBA Programs
"I've been a contributor for years, during the CFD, and always because I believed it was the right thing to do. However, in May of 2011, my 21-month old son passed away from a rare mitochondrial disease. After losing Charlie, the reasons why I give have taken on a more personal meaning than ever before."

"Through the UMN Community Fund Drive, I support CaringBridge and Faith's Lodge. CaringBridge provided a connection to everyone that was following Charlie's story during those precious last six-months and without that vehicle for communication I would've felt terribly isolated."

"After his passing, I attended a special mom’s weekend at Faith's Lodge in Siren, WI, to share with other moms who had lost a child where I began unpacking my grief and started working towards healing."

"I will continue to support causes that provide such invaluable resources for families and are there for them when the unthinkable happens: losing a child."

Lynn Zentner
Office of Institutional Compliance
"I give because I think it is extremely important to extend the generosity we receive as members of the University community to others. I serve on the board of directors of a non-profit organization that supports women who are homeless or otherwise in transition or in need of support in their lives with the goal of helping each of them achieve the highest level of independence possible for their unique situations. Contributing to Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless provides another avenue to support this effort."

Janice L. Sickbertr
University of Minnesota Foundation
I give because it is a privilege to do so. These amazing organizations have a profound impact on the community in which I live and work."

Beth Mercer-Taylor
Institute on the Environment
"Giving lets us support those working to make the world a better place. It matters to me that we give together as part of a community here on the U of M Twin Cities campus, as our gifts accumulated CAN create an affordable home for a family, a meal program at a non-profit community organization, a full scholarship, new artwork or the conservation of a precious natural area."

Jeanne Lojovich
Program in Physical Therapy
"I give to the U of M Community Fund Drive because I sincerely believe in the work that the agencies that I donate to. I also feel that it is our responsibility to support our community for the betterment of all."

Rayla Allison
School of Kinesiology
"Our society, therefore our world, is better when we help others when there is a need. I give to UNCF and have for years because as their slogan says 'a mind is a terrible thing to waste'. If it were not for the help of others I would not have had the financial capacity to receive my undergraduate education, so I continue to give the gift of educational assistance."

Kathleen Miller
Medical School - Emergency Medicine
"I give to Community Health Charities Minnesota (CHCM) and Trust for Public Lands (TPL) because I am very familiar with the work these agencies do every day for Minnesotans. CHCM provides hope and resources to people with acute and chronic health conditions. Some health charities also support important research being done here at U of M. CHCM also does a superb job of selecting charities that deserve our support. TPL provides all of us with recreational spaces in the cities and around the state."

Jo Ann Hendricks
Law School
"I certainly am not wealthy, but I am happy to give a very small financial sharing if it will benefit others in my community. I believe if we all just giv,e even a small amount, it will add up so much that the charities will be overwhelmed. There would be shouts of joy and a lot more meetings on how best to spend it to fulfill their mission!"

Susan Diekman
Office of Human Resources
"I gave to the United Negro College Fund because I believe that all people regardless of race, gender, age, or economic status should have the opportunity to pursue a college education."

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2013 Grand Prize Winners

Donor / Prize Winner
Academic Health Center
Tuition for two to the Spring 2014 Mini Medical School
Goodwin, Barbara
College of Liberal Arts
Boynton Health Service
Bike Safety Kit - helmet, Kryptonite lock, lights and vest
Rosen, Carl
Soil, Water, and Climate
College of Education and Human Development
iPad Mini
Forsyth, Mark
U of M Bookstores
One-year Membership and T-shirt
Genadek, Katie
MN Population Center
Office for Information Technology
iPad and Case
Norrman, Lena
German, Scandinavian and Dutch
Office of the President
4 Gopher Hockey Tickets
Meyer, Lynn
Boynton Health Service
Parking and Transportation Services
$75 gift certificate
Schmid, Jenny
Continuing Education
Parking and Transportation Services
$75 gift certificate
Shields, Andrea Denise
Obstetrics and Gynecology
The Commons Hotel
Gift certificate for one-night stay
Skjervem, Marc
Carlson Undergraduate Program
U of M Alumni Association
Gift basket including a 3-year membership ($150+ value)
Karner, Deb
Food/Ag/Natural Resource Sciences
U of M Alumni Association
Gift basket including a 3-year membership ($150+ value)
Sievert, Kaia
Library Research
U of M Alumni Association
Gift basket including a 3-year membership ($150+ value)
Tischler, Anna
U of M Campus Club
One-year Campus Club membership
Lewis, Seth
School of Journalism
U of M Athletics
Four Gopher Men's Basketball tickets
Mude, Makia Mahmud
FM Health Sciences District

Thanks to the following for the weekly prizes

Afro Deli and Coffee
Bell Museum
Boynton Health Service
Burrito Loco
Carlson School of Management
Chill Billy’s Frozen Yogurt
D’Amico and Sons
Department of Food Science and Nutrition
Jimmy Johns
Kafe 421
McNamara Academic Center
Potbelly Sandwich Works
Punch Pizza
Teamsters Local 320
U of M Arboretum
U of M Bookstores
U of M Extension Service
U of M Marching Band
University Dining Services


2013 Participation leaders

Top 7 participation in units with 100 employees or below:

Agricultural Experimental Station 100.00%
Audits 100.00%
Board of Regents 100.00%
Office of the President 78.38%
Graduate School 77.27%
Capital Planning and Project Management 66.67%
Office of the General Counsel 64.10%

Top 10 participation in units with 100 employees and above:

Controller’s Office 80.42%
Boynton Health Service 69.35%
Auxiliary Services 67.73%
Public Health 64.52%
Humphrey Institute 61.90%
Student Affairs 60.53%
Research 56.88%
Office for Equity and Diversity 54.55%
Law School 54.43%
Facilities Management 48.50%