Penn State’s 2020-21 United Way campaign raises more than $620,000

February 19, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The 2020-21 Penn State United Way Campaign, which is funded by the generosity of the Penn State University Park community, raised a total of $624,630 to support the Centre County United Way and help fund critical services in the interconnected areas of health, education and financial stability.

“This year, as our community contends with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn Staters’ support for the Centre County United Way was especially important, perhaps more than ever before,” said Marie Hardin, dean of the Bellisario College of Communications and this year’s campaign chair. 

“Each year, we come together as Penn Staters to ‘Live United,’ and this year was no different. The obstacles were taller, the need was greater, and our community answered the call,” Hardin said. “I am incredibly proud of the Penn State community. This has been a true demonstration of the ‘We Are Penn State’ spirit.”

 The Centre County United Way has been Penn State’s charity of choice for more than 40 years as an extension of the University’s commitment to local impact as a land-grant institution. Each year, the Penn State United Way campaign effort contributes about 40% of the total funds raised by the Centre County United Way.

This year’s total of $624,630 exceeded the campaign’s goal of $600,000. Penn State Vice President for Outreach Tracey Huston, this year’s vice chair and chair for next year’s campaign, said this goal was slightly lower than previous years to adjust for the difficulties of the pandemic and the inability to host in-person events like Trash to Treasure — making the response from the community that much more impressive and appreciated, she said.

“I am so grateful for the generosity that our University community demonstrated during this challenging year to support the United Way and the partner agencies and people served,” Huston said. “This was an especially difficult year for so many people—every gift will have a significant impact in our region.”

Centre County United Way and Penn State United Way Campaign celebration

United Way executive director Wendy Vinhage and Marie Hardin, dean of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and chair of the Penn State United Way Campaign, share the totals for the annual Centre County United Way fundraising effort in this video. Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, both campaigns exceeded their goals.

Wendy Vinhage, executive director of the Centre County United Way, said the support of the Penn State community helps her organization and its network of 28 partner agencies continue to provide critical services to Centre County residents, including fighting food insecurity, providing mental health support and helping families impacted by housing insecurity.

“We are extremely grateful to the Penn State community for their incredible support of the Centre County United Way,” Vinhage said. “They worked nonstop over the most turbulent year imaginable to raise the funds needed to help our neighbors. We could not make as great of an impact in Centre County without our friends at Penn State."


Last Updated February 23, 2021