More than 200 community and corporate leaders rallied together this past weekend to officially kick off the 2019 United Way Fundraising Campaign.
Archie Brown, United Way Campaign Chair and President and CEO of First Financial Bank, announced this year’s campaign goal of $50.5 million, a slight increase over last year’s total.
“50.5 million is our target – but the number that really matters is 330,000. That’s how many lives will be changed thanks to the generosity of our community when we reach this goal,” said Brown.
“One in five Greater Cincinnati residents rely on United Way services,” added Cynthia Booth, President & CEO of COBCO Enterprises and this year’s campaign vice chair. “Contributions help support more than 140 local agencies working to make lives better for those in need. It’s important to come together at this time in support of our community.”
Brown and Booth also announced early momentum leading into the campaign as major tri-state companies and generous individuals have already pledged $2.5 million to create a Chairman’s Challenge Fund. This fund includes a donation of $1 million dollars from First Financial Bank.
These donors have pledged to give even more to the campaign this year by matching new corporate campaigns and new major gifts up to $2.5 million. Additional contributors include American Financial Group, Castellini Foundation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Ohio National Financial Services, MICHELMAN, P&G, and Western & Southern Financial. Individual contributors include John & Francie Pepper, John and Eileen Barrett, Michael & Suzette Fisher, Barbara and Daman Turner, Lee and Shannon Carter, Claude and Sara Davis, Julie & Steve Shifman, Gary “Doc” and Milly Huffman, Archie and Sharen Brown, Cynthia and Paul Booth and Bill and Sue Butler.
The $2.5 million is on top of an additional $2.3 million from companies who have run early “Pacesetter” campaigns. Companies include Baker Hostetler and Western & Southern Financial Group.
"We’re just getting started,” said Ross Meyer, leader of United Way. “This campaign is not about United Way – it is about our community. And our community needs us now more than ever. Today, we’re asking everyone to join us. Because when we come together, we can do amazing things for greater Cincinnati families. When we hit this campaign goal, we will help thousands of kids get a strong start in life, when it matters most. We will help thousands of our youth thrive in school and see hope and opportunity in their future. We will put more people into good jobs that can provide for their families. We will help thousands of people overcome any barriers in their way – be it addiction, homelessness, or mental illness. And, most important, we will help more families break the cycle of poverty for good,” he concluded.
United Way also hosted a Community United Summit on Saturday, where local leaders came together to take a deeper dive into some of the obstacles struggling families are facing in our community.
You can find more photos of the Community United Corporate Kickoff and Summit here and you can support the campaign by donating, volunteering, or advocating at www.uwgc.org.