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The United Way has invited University employees who donated in the group's last fundraising campaign to a reception Wednesday at the Faculty Club. Invitations to the reception did not explain that Catherwood is personally paying for the event, although she was listed as one of three co-hosts. The reception comes just two weeks before a referendum that will decide whether the United Way maintains control of the University's employee charity campaign. Faculty who received invitations to the reception said Friday they were concerned that the United Way would be spending a great deal of money on the reception to sway the vote. But United Way spokesman Joe Divis assured employees that United Way donations will not be used to pay for the reception. "None of the money will come from United Way coffers," Divis said. Catherwood said yesterday she is paying for the event. She added that many corporations underwrite "thank you" receptions for givers. She also said that if she didn't sponsor the reception she, "wouldn't necessarily give another check." Divis said the reception is not irregular. "It is to thank people for their generosity," Divis said Friday. "We have events all of the time." But faculty members who were invited disagreed saying they have never been invited to any such event before. Nursing School Assistant Dean of Administration Kristin Davidson said this is the first time she has been invited, although she has donated in the past to the United Way. "This has never happened before," Davidson said. Faculty Senate Chair-Elect Louise Shoemaker, who has worked for the United Way in the past, also said it is the first time she has been invited. Southeastern Pennsylvania United Way President Ted Moore has not returned several phone messages this week and Director of Research Development Susanne Perry refused to comment. Faculty-Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips said last week that he had sent a letter to Moore regarding concerns he has. Phillips said he will discuss the letter and any reply at Wednesday's University Council meeting. The referendum on the University's donation system, which all staff and faculty can vote in, will conclude a two-year long debate between the United Way and the Committee for a Combined Campaign at Penn. The United Way, an umbrella organization for 2,700 groups, has historically been the sole vehicle through which faculty and staff could pledge donations to fundraising groups. The Committee for a Combined Campaign at Penn is proposing that donations go directly to fundraising organizations without using the United Way as an intermediary. The four current fundraising organizations that the committee is proposing are already under the United Way. United Way officials have said throughout the debate that they are the most efficient organization to receive and distribute donations, claiming that its operating costs are low.

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