TOLEDO -- "This is the year we exceed traditional expectations." These are the words of 2007 United Way Campaign Chair and President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, Bob LaClair, who refuses to underestimate the collective power and generosity of our community.
LaClair's comments marked the start of the annual 2007 United Way Campaign. As part of the campaign kickoff, which took place today at Fifth Third Field, LaClair announced a $15 million goal, or a 10 percent increase over last year's success.
According to Bill Kitson, president and CEO of United Way, "We need a 10 percent increase because there is 100 percent more opportunity. The additional revenue will allow United Way to respond quickly to community needs by using innovative approaches beyond just program funding."
Kitson went on to say, "Although gifts to the United Way Community Impact Fund, which allow for such program funding, are the best way to create the most impact, United Way also provides donors the opportunity to choose how their contributions are invested."
Investments in the Community Impact Fund support United Way's four priorities, outlined in the Community Impact Plan 2009 . These areas include getting young children off to a great start, creating strong foundations for children and teens, empowering vulnerable families and mobilizing resources.
To support these priority areas and to help reach this year's $15 million goal, The Andersons and Fifth Third Bank have provided the $100,000 United Way Leadership Challenge. The challenge is designed to inspire new or increased leadership giving to United Way. Donations of $1,000 or more are considered leadership gifts.
Donors who increase their existing leadership gift or make a gift that qualifies them as a leadership donor will have the amount of their increase matched by the Leadership Challenge. According to LaClair, "The Leadership Challenge combined with all the positive energy and new business growth in our community, makes us optimistic about achieving our goal."
In conjunction with the annual campaign kickoff, United Way Volunteer Center organized a United Way Day of Caring. Day of Caring matches employees from area companies with volunteer projects at local nonprofits.
This year nearly 400 volunteers from 18 companies helped complete 34 volunteer projects at approximately 26 local nonprofit organizations. Volunteer projects included constructing a wheel chair ramp, painting, gardening, organizing a food pantry, and delivering meals to seniors.
Donations to this year's United Way campaign can be made securely online at www.unitedwaytoledo.org, by calling 419-248-2424 or by pledging at your workplace. This year's campaign will conclude on December 4, 2007.