Kansas University business school dean Neeli Bendapudi has a saying she often shares with business leaders: In God we trust. In all else, bring data.
The latest data for the annual fundraising campaign for the United Way of Douglas County shows the agency still has a ways to go to meet its $1.8 million goal by the end of the year. Bendapudi on Wednesday provided a pep talk to about 30 small-business executives on the importance of supporting the United Way campaign.
"Always become part of the community," Bendapudi said. "You get so much more when you give."
Colleen Gregoire, vice president and campaign director for the United Way, said pledge totals currently were on pace to finish below the campaign's $1.8 million goal. She said current totals were on pace to finish near the $1.75 million mark that was raised during last year's campaign.
But United Way officials are making one last push for donations as businesses and individuals do their end-of-year planning. Bendapudi was on hand for a United Way sponsored event at the Peoples Bank location in downtown Lawrence to promote the importance of charitable giving by businesses and to provide a free seminar to business leaders on topics such as branding and marketing.
"Business schools will become irrelevant if we don't work with businesses," the third-year dean said. "We are doing a lot of work with small businesses, and we want to do more."