More than 60,000 donors step up in a year when it is most needed
Cincinnati (Dec. 17, 2020) — United Way of Greater Cincinnati reached the $50 million mark in its annual campaign today, assuring it has resources to help the Greater Cincinnati region recover and revitalize from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement wraps up a campaign that started three months early, in May, to respond to a community experiencing great need. Food banks saw 300 to 500 percent increases in demand, thousands of emergency food boxes were needed for isolated seniors and homeless women and children required relocation from shelters to places they could safely isolate.
Moira Weir, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, said many of those challenges remain.
“Hitting the goal is fantastic news for United Way and our community – lives will be changed with this money,” she said. “We thank everyone who helped get us here because the unrelenting effects of COVID-19 assure this money is needed. United Way will continue its path to recovery and revitalization. So many are depending on us and our community – as it always does – rallied to the cause.”
The good campaign news comes on the heels of the amazing $25 million investment national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott made in United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s work. Ms. Scott’s donation is incremental to the $50 million raised through the annual giving campaign.
“I want to thank everyone in the Greater Cincinnati community who stepped up to help United Way reach its goal of $50 million,” said David Taylor, campaign chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble. “I especially want to thank and recognize the 2020 campaign cabinet; so many new voices and perspectives joined those of us long-familiar with United Way to help achieve this milestone.
“With a greater diversity of leaders and ideas, we were able to reach people we haven’t reached before,” he said. “This was not a one-year effort. Our hope is those new to this effort will remain donors and be a critical part of United Way’s long-term success. We are building bridges and opening doors for the future.”
Weir said United Way will continue investing in its cornerstone impact areas: meeting basic needs and promoting financial stability, quality education and good physical and mental health. Campaign contributions help United Way meet the community’s emerging needs and support 140 partner agencies and dozens of community-based and faith-based organizations throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.
The $50 million couldn’t come at a better time. COVID-19 disrupted systems and supports for families; particularly families in and on the edge of poverty. One in five families were living in poverty before this; that number will increase. Some middle-income families, particularly those working in the travel or restaurant industries, faced total loss of income overnight.
The campaign money, along with the Scott donation, which must be set aside for special transformational work outside of the organization’s traditional work, allows United Way to promote change on different levels.
“We work so hard for so many – in a difficult, challenging year like this, you wonder if you are making any traction,” Weir said. “It can be physically and emotionally draining. To have 60,000 plus donors in our community support our work, along with a national philanthropist like Ms. Scott, is incredibly uplifting. This is reinvigorating as we head into 2021.”
It is not too late to donate. Visit uwgc.org/united or text waytohelp to 50503 if you want to support the organization’s recovery and revitalization work.
United Way’s work around the COVID-19 pandemic includes:
- Allowing United Way agencies to access early allocations for help with emergency relief.
- Establishing the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund with Greater Cincinnati Foundation, raising more than $7.2 million and distributing it to more than 250 organizations within two months.
- Establishing its 211 Center as a one-stop shop for COVID relief, including guiding them to $3.5 million in rental assistance available through the CARES Act.
- Reaching out to non-traditional partners (faith-based and community-based organizations) to ensure relief work hits all communities.
- Delivering iPads to help isolated seniors connect with their families.
- Establishing a partnership with Hamilton County JFS and delivering more than $160,000 in gift cards directly into the hands of food assistance applicants to fill the void between application submittal and approval.
- Connecting United Way 211 and Meals on Wheels to proactively reach out to seniors living alone and inquire if they need social services.
- Delivering 1.5 million masks and 28,000 bottled of sanitizer to organizations throughout the community.
- Supporting a digital equity initiative to ensure students have access to remote learning.
- Partnering with Hamilton County on a $1 million contract to provide Care Coordination services to residents affected by COVID-19.
- Dispersing $1 million in CARES Act money designated for non-profits and recreation commissions helping youth with COVID-related services.
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