With a focus on celebrating United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s 100th anniversary and accelerating progress in achieving Bold Goals for Our Region in education, income and health, United Way campaign chair Kevin T. Kabat announced a goal of $62 million at the August 26 campaign kickoff on Fountain Square.
“We want to deliver a campaign that renews United Way’s path for growth and launches and shapes the next 100 years from a position of strength,” said Kabat, vice chairman and CEO, Fifth Third Bancorp.
“We are driving strategies that create sustainable growth by engaging new businesses, deepening involvement with Millennials and providing opportunity for donors who can contribute $25,000 or more,” he said.
UWGC president Rob Reifsnyder said, “We are so fortunate to have Kevin Kabat as campaign chair in our Centennial year. He recognizes the legacy of past leaders who have made our United Way one of the best in the country and is committed to moving our community forward and doing everything possible to help achieve the Bold Goals. Kevin has been working with us since last fall and brought new energy and ideas to the campaign.”
Kabat and Reifsnyder agree that the goal is a challenging one and will require an all hands on deck approach. If the goal is reached, it will be the first time since 2007 that the campaign has grown by $1 million or more.
“This will be a great accomplishment in United Way’s Centennial year,” said Kabat. “It will require each of us and our community to step up, but we are committed to reaching this target.”
Reifsnyder said, “Reaching this goal won’t be easy, but we are fortunate to live in a community filled with individuals, companies and foundations that are incredibly generous – and that recognize the importance of ensuring children get off to a strong start and achieve success in school, families have the financial stability that can come with gainful employment, and individuals lead healthy lives.”
Early Highlights of the Centennial Campaign
To date, the 2015 campaign has raised $23,702,000 through Pacesetter campaigns and early Leadership Giving gifts, which is 38.2% to this year's campaign goal.
In addition to the solid foundation that these companies have laid for the 2015 campaign, Cincinnati Bell and Duke Energy have both achieved their goals. Cincinnati Bell attained an 11% increase over last year's total and Duke Energy is already $10,000 over their campaign goal. Both companies still have pledges coming in.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare System has exceeded their goal of $120,000 by over 10% and is still climbing.
The Centennial Campaign has also been bolstered by the addition of 14 new employee campaigns from throughout the region, raising more than $200,000 in commitments. “This work is sustainable and will drive revenue in future years,” Kabat said, encouraged by the early results.
New Ways to Engage
“We’ve established a matching program for young professionals who get involved with United Way’s L.I.N.C. program and make new or increased gifts. We’ve secured more than 400 contacts among Millennials outside of the workplace campaigns. These contacts represent individuals from more than 50 companies that have no prior relationship with United Way and who are interested in engaging with United Way in efforts to make our community better,” he said.
New this year is the Centennial Society, which will recognize donors of $25,000 or more. There are already 13 new members who will be joining with the 60 current members. A matching program for new or increased gifts is available.
This year’s goal includes $2 million for the Accelerator Fund, started last year to provide donors the opportunity to make targeted, multi-year investments in proven strategies designed to produce lasting change in the areas of education, income and health.
Reifsnyder said, “I would like to thank those who have already contributed to the Accelerator Fund this year and urge others to consider participating as well. Your generosity will help United Way achieve more than incremental gains in its efforts to achieve the Bold Goals.”
United Way’s top two priorities within the Bold Goals are kindergarten readiness and gainful employment.
Success By 6® and its partners are focused on the kindergarten readiness rate. In 2013, 57 percent (a 30% increase since 2006) of Cincinnati Public Schools students and 53 percent of Northern Kentucky students were assessed as “ready for kindergarten.”
Since 2009, United Way-managed Partners for a Competitive Workforce and its partners have trained more than 9,000 individuals for in-demand jobs, with 80 percent obtaining employment
Beyond fundraising, United Way is asking individuals to become advocates for positive change by joining the United Way Advocacy Network. Individuals and families can also find volunteer opportunities through the United Way Volunteer Connection.
The annual United Way campaign includes Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties and the Middletown area in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky; and Dearborn and Ohio Cincinnati-Dayton Region of the American Red Cross. Campaign chairs for the four geographic areas are:
- Northern Kentucky – Carri Chandler, assistant manager, external affairs, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA)
- Middletown Area – Dr. Catherine Bishop-Clark, associate dean & professor of computer & information technology, Miami University Middletown
- Easter Area – Ralph Lee, human resources vice president, Total Quality Logistics
- Dearborn and Ohio Counties, Indiana – Sheryl Haag, dealer principal & owner, Haag Ford Sales
The campaign ends October 28.