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Black United Fund Wins Decade-Old Campaign Fiqht.

The Black United Fund of New York (BUFNY) used winter-time picketing, letter campaigns, and petitions, but in the end it was the opportunity to state its case that opened up the workplace giving campaign at Harlem's North General Hospital.

Kermit Eady, president and founder of the organization, said it took more than a decade to get access to the workplace giving campaign at Harlem's largest employer. He said a board full of United Way supporters, including past presidents of the hospital, had been the barrier in the past. "They seemed to think that if they allow their employees to support the Black United Fund, the United Way would stop their bit of money they give them," Eady said. "The new president (Dr. Samuel Daniel) came in and miracles happened. He picked up the phone and called."

Dr. Daniel said he met with Eady and his group and was impressed and touched by their presentation. Though he'd prefer that BUFNY funded more than minority issues, Daniel said he believed the inclusion helped the Harlem community at large. "I frankly felt that if (BUFNY) was able to meet with our employees and the employees wanted to work with them, I shouldn't prevent that from happening," he said.

Dr. Daniel denied the board was opposed to BUFNY, though he emphasized that the hospital will continue to support the United Way. "The experience we've had with United Way has been an excellent experience," he said. "The campaign we have for United Way will continue in the ways it has in the past. BUFNY has to come in and sell their program. The employees need to buy into that system."

For its part, the United Way of New York City said it had no problem with BUFNY's campaign starting up at the hospital. "I think North General Hospital recognizes it has a broad responsibility," said Ralph Dickerson, president of UWNYC. "If North General Hospital, which is the customer, says it wants to run (two different campaigns) we'll make it go."

Eady said that some corporations believe BUFNY and the local United Way fund the same type of efforts. "But United Way does not do what we do," he said, citing housing and land development, and economic development as part of its mission toward self-help, mutual aid, and volunteerism. "We believe if we help ourselves, it's helping society," he said.

North General is just the second of the city's nonprofit hospitals that' allows BUFNY workplace campaigns, according to Eady, who noted that Bronx Lebanon Hospital opened its campaign to BUFNY in 1995. He said BUFNY will begin its attempts anew at Mt. Sinai Hospital and New York University to get in workplace campaigns.
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Author:Sinclair, Matthew
Publication:The Non-profit Times
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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