Knightro joins President and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way Bob Brown and UCF President John C. Hitt in encouraging UCF employees to give back.

University of Central Florida employees are encouraged to give back to the community this year by supporting the United Way.

UCF is partnering with the Heart of Florida United Way for the LIVE UNITED employee giving campaign, which runs through Oct. 31.

“In these challenging times, many people in our community struggle financially and need help,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “Please join our caring Knight family as we aid them and offer hope for a better life.”

The 2011 United Way Campaign replaces the Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign. With the United Way campaign donors have more giving options and can designate investments to charities of their choosing.

The United Way also allows donors to give to one or more of four areas of need. They are safe communities, financial stability, hunger and homelessness, and children and families.

“Florida is still reeling from five years of job losses and is last in the nation for job creation,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, President and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. “UCF is a leader in positioning Central Florida for job creation and innovation. Together, through giving and volunteerism, we can LIVE UNITED and have a profound impact in our community.”

This year the university has set a fundraising goal of $200,000. Last year’s employee giving campaign raised more than $144,000, part of $450,000 in contributions from UCF to charity in Central Florida in 2010.

Donors can select how their funds will be disbursed by choosing from UCF’s four selected focus areas or designating a particular agency, charity or nonprofit to give to. Undesignated funds will be disbursed by the United Way based on community need.

The campaign also includes special events where employees and others can donate their time and money. One major fundraiser this year is RunUnited, which allows participants to select a number of miles to be walked or ran throughout the campaign and recruit others to pledge money for each mile completed.

Departments across campus also plan to hold fundraisers such as cook-offs, contests, games, parties and raffles and silent auctions.

Employees can securely contribute to the campaign via automatic payroll deduction. Cash and checks also will be accepted, and credit card payments may be made online.

The campaign is overseen by Bill Merck, vice president of Administration and Finance. Sixteen members of the campus community make up the campaign cabinet, which advises and guides fundraising efforts.

To learn more about the campaign, go to www.ucf.edu/liveunited. To contact campaign headquarters, email [email protected] or call 407-823-2351.