TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - From one end of Lake Erie to the other, the head of the United Way of Greater Toledo prepares to say goodbye.
Bill Kitson, current president and CEO, accepted a job at the United Way in Cleveland. Kitson said after seven years in Toledo, it is time for him to move on.
"I think quite honestly in my Toledo work, there were times when I was like, 'Boy, if a few more of us in Ohio got around this issue.' Well, I can be part of that few more now in Cleveland," said Kitson.
Kitson made a lasting impression on Toledo's education by getting the United Way involved in increasing the graduation rate.
"We need to graduate more kids. There's no doubt. And there's lots more work to do, but I believe we have a team and a community that's engaged and excited and ready to get to work," said Kitson.
Jim Gault, Toledo Public School chief academic officer, said Kitson was also influential with the transformation plan TPS used this school year.
"Bill brought the ability to partnership, in terms of, he realized how important strong education was in having a strong community, and he lended support in terms of financial, in terms of going after grants," said Gault.
There has also been some controversy in Kitson's tenure in northwest Ohio. Most notably, what to do with the former United Way building at Stranahan Square.
Kitson stands by his decision to have it torn down after the new one was built.
"The building process was one that really helped our community grow," explained Kitson.
Kitson believes Toledo is heading down the right path, but said it is going to take communication and support.
"That's going to be the next hurdle for the next United Way president too: To be a part of the community coming together even more, pointing with even more laser-sharp focus on those things that really need to drive change in our community," said Kitson.
Kitson's last day is June 1.
To find the next United Way president, the board has retained a search firm and developed a search committee.