As I retire from United Way of Greater Cincinnati after 18 years as CEO and 43 years with United Way, I want to thank you for your commitment to our community and to changing people’s lives – and for the honor of serving you as we have worked together toward this goal.
It takes a village – almost 90,000 generous donors, thousands of passionate volunteers, hundreds of committed and effective community and agency partners and an incredible United Way staff team – to do this work of improving lives together. So my most important message is, simply, thank you.
Our commitment, my commitment, is to more than an organization called United Way. It is to an idea: that much more can be achieved, more lives can be changed, when a community comes together to work on its problems, its opportunities, its goals. Much more can be achieved when we unite than any single organization can achieve on its own. It’s been my blessing to talk about uniting every day of my 43-year career. And this idea has never been more important than it is today.
I’m proud that this idea has led United Way to convene, or partner to convene, critical collaboratives that are driving education, financial stability and health goals and changing lives every day. Every Child Succeeds helps parents of our community’s youngest children, Success by 6 is preparing children across the region for school, and the Cincinnati Preschool Promise will give thousands of additional children access to early childhood education. The Strive Partnership’s goal is every child, every step of the way, cradle to career. Partners for a Competitive Workforce is helping thousands obtain jobs that will help them on the road to self-sufficiency. The Gen-H Health Agenda is working to help our community achieve better health and better care at lower cost. Place Matters helps neighborhoods develop and achieve their goals in education, economic vitality and health. The Child Poverty Collaborative and United Way’s new Opportunity Agenda are working to help 10,000 families across the region move from poverty to self-sufficiency. These and other collective efforts are changing lives.
I’m also proud of our many donors who provide leadership not only in your giving but in advocating and volunteering every day. Members of our LINC, Emerging Leaders, Women United, Women of Tocqueville, Herbert R. Brown Society and Hispanic Leaders networks. Our Leaders in Giving, Roebling, Cincinnatus, Tocqueville and Centennial Societies and Major Gifts Roundtables. And thousands of $1/week donors, and many more, who provide the foundation of one of the largest and most generous United Way Campaigns in the world.
We are one of the most generous communities in our country and the world. My one request is that together, we remain committed to this idea of uniting. Its power is unlimited.
It has been a pleasure. Thank you for your belief in our collective mission. I will continue to engage as a donor and a volunteer, and support our new CEO Michael Johnson as he leads United Way into a new era. And I know that there are great achievements ahead for our community as we continue to Live United - together.
Robert C. Reifsnyder
United Way Donor and Volunteer