Ambassadors for a better place
Date: October 7, 2010
Leaders across the enterprise spearhead the United Way effort for central Maryland
Charles Reuland volunteers at a homeless shelter and soup kitchen through his church, chairs the Baltimore board of the American Heart Association, and gives annually to Johns Hopkins Medicine’s United Way campaign.
This year, though, as United Way of Central Maryland has tapped Hopkins to lead its regional campaign, Reuland, the executive vice president and COO of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, will take a far more active role in the cause. With two dozen other Hopkins executives, he’ll help Johns Hopkins leadership garner donations not only from Hopkins faculty and staff, but from the most generous of some 650 workplaces in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.
Traditionally, United Way partners with an individual or duo to chair the regional effort. Yet, when asked to be this year’s lead volunteers, Hopkins Dean/CEO Edward Miller and President of the Hospital and Health System Ron Peterson decided to harness the energy and influence of its leadership team to raise $23 million before June 2011.
These Hopkins “ambassadors” have been assigned high-level fundraising responsibility by jurisdiction, as well as various areas of focus—such as women leaders, new business development and emerging leaders—to increase giving through corporate gifts and workplace campaigns. Reuland will work with Peterson on the Harford County region.
To get a broader perspective of how United Way helps people and better prepare for his role, Reuland scheduled time at United Way’s 2-1-1 Center, where some seven information and referral specialists take as many as 450 calls a day, connecting people in need to information about health and human services and related resources.
In between listening in on calls, such as those from an unemployed disabled woman facing eviction and a mother seeking shelter for the night, Reuland learned from 2-1-1’s director about how the center’s assistance empowers callers to help themselves and how the calls reveal the community’s needs.
“Part of being a good community contributor is not just about giving money,” Reuland says, “but understanding how the service works in real life and becoming grounded in what the community’s needs are.”
It’s just that sort of dedication that made Hopkins a logical choice to lead, says Todd Langenberg, vice president of development at United Way of Central Maryland. Noting that Johns Hopkins employees contribute more to United Way than any other employer in the state of Maryland, he says, “when we looked for a leader in the community who embodies philanthropy, leads by example and culturally represents the spirit of helping others, it was natural for us to think of Hopkins.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie Reel, vice president for information services, will chair the internal Johns Hopkins Medicine campaign, which kicks off Oct. 18, with Theodore DeWeese, professor and director of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences. She’s hoping that the department ambassadors and successful events—such as the leadership breakfast and the hot dog lunches on Oct. 21 and Oct. 29, which will feature an appearance by Oriole baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson—will motivate faculty and staff to increase their contributions over last year’s $1.6 million total for the school of medicine, hospital and health system.
“Our community is still recovering from a challenging recession, and we are working in the middle of a neighborhood that is struggling,” Reel says. “But with a commitment to courageous action, we can make a difference. If we can imagine a better future and work together to make it happen, it will happen.”