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Giving back to the Queen’s and Kingston communities

Kellie Hart and James Ligthart are the co-chairs of the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee. This year the committee has a goal of raising $320,000 for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac Lennox and Addington.
Kellie Hart and James Ligthart are the co-chairs of the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee. This year the committee has a goal of raising $320,000 for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac Lennox and Addington. (University Communications)

Organizing the annual fundraising campaign for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac Lennox and Addington requires a team effort, with hundreds of volunteers and staff members taking part.

At Queen’s, the largest workplace campaign for the United Way KFLA, the effort is led by a cross-campus committee comprising representatives from all aspects of the university, from administration and staff to faculty, retirees and students.

This year the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee has set a fundraising goal of $320,000, accounting for close to 10 per cent of the United Way KFL&A’s budget.

Leading the Queen’s United Way Campaign Committee are co-chairs Kellie Hart and James Ligthart. 

For both, their support of the United Way started before they arrived at Queen’s, and once they joined the university it was an easy decision to get involved.

Through her participation in the campaign committee, Ms. Hart says she realized that she can make a difference at Queen’s and within the larger community.

“Giving to your community is important for me because you get so much more back,” Ms. Hart says. “I took part in the Seeing is Believing Tour and that really opens your eyes to the extent of services that the United Way helps to fund and how important those services are to the community.”

As a major employer in Kingston, Queen’s can contribute so much to the community that houses it and is home to its employees and students, she adds.

Along with his Queen’s committee work, Mr. Ligthart has participated in the United Way KFLA Next Gen, which brings together volunteers ages 25 to 40 who are interested in becoming future leaders.

“For me, volunteering for the United Way is a way to support an organization that gives opportunity to people in our community who may otherwise not have it, helping them take the next step forward that they can turn into an opportunity for something else and grow from that,” he says.

At Queen’s he has found that the campaign draws strength by reaching across campus and inviting a diversity of ideas and contributions. It all adds up to a greater positive impact.

“We are very fortunate to have a large workforce but within that it allows for a lot of different-minded people to come to the table with the campaign committee, from different departments, different faculties, to come together with one goal in mind but have lots of different avenues towards getting the campaign exposure and helping reaching into different areas of our large campus,” Mr. Ligthart says.

During their time as committee members, and now co-chairs, both have found that along with the positives of helping others, they have also benefitted by meeting and working with their colleagues from across the Queen’s community.

“We have a great team to work with and it is very motivating when you have a group of people who are committed and want to make a difference along with you,” Ms. Hart says. “Just knowing the good things that Queen’s can do for the community and knowing that you are part of that and that you can make that happen is very rewarding.”

The fundraising campaign is currently underway and helps the United Way support community agencies. Last year, more than 55,000 people benefited from United Way KFL&A-funded programs.

Queen’s community members can back the United Way through payroll deduction, a one-time gift, credit card, cheque or cash. To make a donation online through the United Way’s ePledge system, simply go to elsaalexandra.com/unitedway. Please note that if you donated last year and selected the auto-renewal action, no further action is required unless you would like to change your donation. 

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