United Way gifts fund Notre Dame's Compassion Fund

Author: Gwen O'Brien

Janna Hughes

On July 4, 2016, Janna Hughes suddenly found herself without a home. Her apartment building caught fire, but not how you might think. 

“It wasn’t fireworks,” explains Hughes, the director of marketing for Notre Dame Athletics. “A bird’s nest perched on top of a balcony light next door caught fire.”

Her neighbor’s apartment was destroyed and there was extensive smoke damage to Hughes’ home. Fortunately, she had renter’s insurance, which paid for the professional cleaning of her furniture and other belongings. But she needed a new place to live.

“All of a sudden, I had to move and I wasn’t prepared for the expense. I needed a deposit for a new place.”

Hughes had been an employee at Notre Dame for only a year and hadn’t heard of the University’s Compassion Fund, an emergency assistance program funded by Notre Dame faculty and staff through the annual United Way campaign. 

Coworker Jenny Borg, assistant director of special projects in Athletics, helped Hughes see she qualified. (Details on the fund are available at unitedway.nd.edu.)

“Now, I give back to the Compassion Fund every year because someone did that for me,” Hughes says.

When you commit to a United Way donation, 5 percent of your total gift goes to the Compassion Fund. You have the option to increase the amount of your gift that goes to the Compassion Fund, or you may choose to dedicate your entire United Way gift to it. 

Originally published by Gwen O’Brien at ndworks.nd.edu on November 12, 2018.