United Way Helps Local Communities

By Randy Franke, Executive Director, Unted Way of the Mid Willamette Valley

For the rest of the year, I want to focus my United Way articles on some of our most generous “givers.” These profiles in giving will highlight professionals who choose to give to UW as an individual. Many of them also coordinate campaigns at their workplace or have a significant volunteer role in the UW. For February I will focus on William “Bud” Pierce, MD

Dr. Pierce is a partner at Hematology/Oncology of Salem, where he has cared for patients with cancer and serious blood disorders for the past 20 years. He is a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Salem Cancer Institute. He has served as president of the Marion Polk County Medical Society, the Oregon Medical Association, and he serves on numerous community charitable boards. His life story is one of hard work and struggle. Losing his father at an early age, Dr. Pierce worked his way through medical school and beyond.

Dr. Pierce says that one reason he was moved to give to UW was the realization that 40 percent of the children in our communities fail to read at grade level in the third grade. This is a strong predictor of lifetime academic failure and a life of poverty. He is part of the inspiration to raise and award $500,000 yearly to programs which will improve our children’s third grade reading ability.

Well-known for his generosity in many areas of the community, especially UW, Dr. Pierce accepted a position on our Board and serves as our Major Gifts Chair. As Major Gift Chair he says he “asks his wealthy friends to consider making a large gifts,” which, if given at the $10,000 allows membership in our revitalized Tocqueville Society. Corporate donations of $5000 or more welcomes donors to the President’s Leadership Circle, which underwrites our business operations. This allows other donations to go to programs only. An individual donation of $1000 enters one into the Leadership Giving Society.

Dr. Pierce chose to focus on the UW partially because of its longevity. He reminded us that this great organization can trace its roots to Denver, Colorado, where in 1887 local church leaders began the Charity Organization Society, which raised funds for 22 local agencies. By 2007 the United Way was the largest charitable institution in the United States, with 1285 local United Ways reporting over $$4.2 billion in contributions. Our local UW, established in 1937, seeks to improve the lives of our local families, neighbors, and friends with three areas of focus; income, health and education.

Says Pierce, “Your hard earned and generous gift, irrespective of the amount, is appreciated and will be used in careful and effective ways by your United Way in your community.”