On Nov. 4, Athletic Director John Kasser, aided by The Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ, literally kicked off the 1995 Berkeley Charitable Campaign by punting a football at half-time during the Cal-Washington State game.
"I thought I was supposed to make it an 'onside' kick," joked Kasser, whose kick wobbled down the field.
It may not have cleared the uprights, but Kasser's kick did score a fast start to the two month long campaign. So far, 116 individual campaign donations have been received, reported campaign treasurer Larry Sautter. That number represents roughly 20 percent of the pledges received during the entire campaign last year.
"We are shooting for about 1,100 participants this year," said Sautter, the university cashier, "so we're more than 10 percent of the way there."
Sautter said contributions so far have totaled more than $28,000, about 15 percent of the $200,000 that the campus is aiming to raise before the end of December.
"Why do I work on this?" he said, "Because it needs to be done and because it's for a good cause--it's for kids and people."
Sautter also participates with his Honda Gold Wing in an annual motorcycle ride in Santa Rosa to raise money for children with brain tumors. "I do stuff for kids; they're the ones that really need the help," said Sautter.
Giving to such causes is the purpose of the UC Berkeley Charitable Campaign.
In fact, the Bay Area United Way adopted one of Berkeley's own projects--the Berkeley Pledge--as a giving option for UC and other Bay Area employers. Already more than $5,000 has been raised toward the pledge at Berkeley.
Another such project is the Berkeley Emergency Shelter. Almost two years ago, Mary Roberts came to the shelter with her two-year-old son and another baby on the way. Her husband was a drug addict and the family became homeless. With help from the shelter's staff and counseling, Roberts had a healthy baby, and was able to find a job and strike out on her own.
There are dozens of such stories about cancer patients, the elderly, children and others helped through campaign contributions.
Employees can indicate the organizations they choose on the campaign form provided, either by code, or by writing in the name and address of the organization.
The campaign deadline is Dec. 31. A Gourmet Gala at International House is being planned for February to thank campaign volunteers and donors, and to formally recognize departments that have strongly participated in the campaign. One thank-you gift will be the football Kasser used to kick off the campaign.