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UAB’s Benevolent Fund kicks off 2013 campaign asking employees to give help, give hope

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  • March 25, 2013

UAB’s goal to be a reliable leader for the city we call home is built into our university’s mission statement.

UAB’s mission is to be a research university and academic health center that discovers, teaches and applies knowledge for the intellectual, cultural, social and economic benefit of Birmingham, the state and beyond.

But what about the role the community plays in UAB’s success? Our institution and our employees rely daily on the support of area organizations, including Hand-in-Paw, the March of Dimes, Kid One Transport, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters and countless others. Our employees also lean on each other in times of need though the Employee Emergency Assistance Program (EEAP).

UAB supports these organizations and initiatives along with more than 125 other non-profits through The Benevolent Fund — the university’s own system for supporting charitable health and human service agencies by providing a mechanism for employees to help those in need in the Birmingham area.

Give help, hope today!

You can donate to the Benevolent Fund right now. All you have to do is go here, sign in and sign up. You can even pick and choose the agencies to which you would like to donate, and you can view the agencies the Benevolent Fund supports here. Any monies not designated to a specific agency will first go toward the Employee Emergency Assistance Program, which aids UAB employees in need. You can give as little as $1 per month. Every little bit helps someone in need!

Goal of Hope

April kicks off the Benevolent Fund’s annual campaign to receive the pledges and funds necessary to aid our community and university members in need. Employees donated $1.82 million in 2012, with just more than 34 percent of our 20,000-plus employees participating.

This year’s goal for the campaign is to increase the number of employees who give to the fund and to reach a primary goal of $1.85 million in charitable contributions; the Goal of Hope is $1.9 million. In this time of economic struggles for many, more support is needed now more than ever says Lisa Higginbotham, UAB Benevolent Fund program manager.

“UAB receives so much more than we give, and the Benevolent Fund has given us the opportunity to help improve the lives of our employees and many members of our community,” Higginbotham says. “We’ve been able to do this through our EEAP program, donations to local agencies and in the research we are able to engage in due to the dollars that come back to us from places like the American Diabetes Association, Susan G. Komen, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and numerous other United Way and local health agencies.”

Indeed, millions of research dollars come back to UAB annually from the United Way and other local health agencies. More than $20 million was awarded to UAB in 2012 from these entities, including $3.2 million from the American Heart Association, $2.3 million from the American Diabetes Association, $1 million from the Arthritis Foundation, among others.

These agencies support UAB and its employees in other areas, too. For example, The Literacy Council has a workplace program that has helped many workers learn to read and prepare them to take their GED. In United Cerebral Palsy’s Hand In Hand Early Learning Program, children with and without disabilities learn side by side, and therapeutic services — including language, occupational, physical and music therapists — have enabled children to receive needed intervention while parents are at work. These services give the child an opportunity to have the best start possible, and the parent is able to maintain critical income.

Helping others

UAB’s Benevolent Fund raised $1.82 million in 2012. Where did the money go?

• $1 million was donated to the United Way of Central Alabama.

• More than $184,000 was donated to local health agencies.

• More than $109,000 was donated to independent agencies.

• More than $247,000 was given to 230 UAB employees as part of the Employee Emergency Assistance Program (EEAP) — and increase of more than $70,000 from 2011. More than 80 percent of the cases presented to EEAP were approved in 2012.

The YWCA also has provided assistance to UAB employees through domestic violence programs, including confidential shelters and a court advocacy program where the victim — whether in a shelter or still at home — links with a professional advocate who provides guidance through the often-intimidating legal system.

One way to get involved

“We raise these dollars from our employees so we can do great things for our community and each other,” Higginbotham says. “And it’s important for the community to feel like it’s supported by UAB. We ask our community to support us in our mission, and research dollars come here from the agencies we support. Services happen right here from the agencies we support.

“Part of our mission at UAB is to discover, teach and apply knowledge for the social and economic benefit of Birmingham. A lot of the organizations we support provide social and economic benefit to our community, and community involvement is a core value of UAB. This is one way to get involved,” she notes.

All gifts matter, big and small

How much should you give? Higginbotham says to give whatever is most comfortable for you.

If $1 a month is what you can afford to donate, it makes a difference.

Current Research Funding

What are some health and United Way agencies that give funding to UAB, and how much do they give annually?

  • American Diabetes Assoc. — $2.3 mil.
  • American Heart Assoc. — $3.2 mil.
  • Arthritis Foundation — $1 mil.
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation — $550,000
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research — $1.4 mil.
  • Komen Breast Cancer Foundation — $6.4 mil.*
  • • National Multiple Sclerosis Society — $2 mil.
  • • Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance — $73,854

* Designates a multi-year grant

“There are many generic prescriptions at Target or Wal-Mart that are $4 a month,” Higginbotham says. “If you give $1 a month, you’ve paid for three prescriptions for a coworker or somebody else in need who doesn’t have any income coming in. If you don’t have any income coming in because you’re off for medical reasons, your checking account is frequently in the negative, and that $4 per prescription might as well be $400. We’re going to take that $1 a month and make it matter. We’re going to make it make a difference.

“UAB has always touted its efforts in collaboration among its workers as a strength of the university, with the idea that more can get done collectively than it can individually,” Higginbotham says. “That’s what we want to do here. We can do so much more for our community if we give together.”

If you would like to become a volunteer to help get employees in your area to pledge to the Benevolent Fund, contact Higginbotham at 934-1581 or

Visit www.uab.ed/benfund for more information on the 2013 campaign, including all of the supported agencies, or click here to give today. You can specify which agencies you would like to support with your dollars. Any non-designated funds are first donated to the Employee Emergency Assistance Program, which aided 230 employees in need in 2012 with more than $247,000.