On Sept. 5, My Giving Helps: The MGH Fund + United Way kicked off the 2013 campaign with a change-collecting contest.

All is fair in love and war – even Penny Wars


Norton, left, and campaign champion Ruth Stokes,
of Emergency Services



On Sept. 5, My Giving Helps: The MGH Fund + United Way kicked off the 2013 campaign with a change-collecting contest. Tables were set up in locations across the main campus and in Charlestown, and participants competed to earn points by gathering pennies, which were worth one point each, and silver coins, which were worth their value in negative points.

“The Penny Wars were a terrific way to give all the pennies I had saved at my desk to a good cause,” says Cheryl Norton, an administrative assistant in MGH Administration. “It was fun to see so many people participate.”

Donations came in all different shapes and sizes. One office brought in its “swear jar.” Sonia Lewin, MD, of Emergency Services, donated $100 in pennies. Barbara Irby, RPh, of Pharmacy, brought in several coin jars – enough to fill a five-gallon bucket halfway.

In the end, participants raised close to $1,100 for the campaign, a sum that included nearly 33,000 pennies and weighed more than 216 pounds.

“It’s proof that even pocket change can make a big difference,” says campaign co-chair Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, surgeon-in-chief and chief of the Department of Surgery. 

The My Giving Helps campaign is an annual opportunity for employees to give back to the hospital through the MGH Fund, an unrestricted fund that supports innovative clinical programs and research breakthroughs, and to give back to the community through United Way, which supports more than 170 local nonprofits.

The campaign continues with Blue and Orange Week, starting
Sept. 16. Employees seen wearing campaign colors – blue and orange – can win prizes including movie tickets and hotel stays. For more information, visit  


Read more articles from the 09/13/13 Hotline issue.



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