United Way sets $13.8 million goalWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
The United Way of Greater Toledo aims to raise $13.8 million during its 2012 campaign.
Geoffrey Canada, an education innovator and founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, is set to speak at the campaign’s kickoff at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg. The Harlem Children’s Zone emphasizes community and parental involvement, early childhood education and afterschool programming to support children from birth on.
“We have not had someone like that at our kickoff in eons. I really cannot remember. I’ve been at this United Way for more than 30 years and this is one of the more exciting kickoffs I can remember,” said Jane Moore, interim president and CEO.
Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica, will serve as chair of the campaign. The campaign sum will aid in supporting the United Way’s goal of helping children graduate. The organization, which helps support other groups and encourages volunteering, factors in how education, income and health affect graduation rates in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties. In Toledo Public Schools, the graduation rate was at 80.5 percent for 2009-10, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
“We’re looking at [graduation] in a very holistic way. Kids can’t learn if they’re hungry. Kids can’t learn if they don’t know where they’re sleeping. Kids can’t learn if their families aren’t healthy,” Moore said.
Last year, about $13.6 million was raised for the campaign, up 1.5 percent from 2010, but still short of the same $13.8 million goal. About 30,000 donors contributed in 2011.
Oostra said while he is aware that times are tough, “I’ve never done this before so I’m optimistic.”
One of the ways United Way could meet its goal is through its matching grants, Moore said. For the leadership matching grant, ProMedica and the United Way Board of Trustees, will match new gifts made at or increased to $1,000 (leadership level) or more for up to $100,000. They will also match the increased amount of existing leadership level gifts for up to $100,000, according to a news release.
For the education matching grant challenge, Medical Mutual of Ohio, The Blade and BP-Husky Refining, LLC will match designations of $100 or more to United Way’s education-focused area for up to $100,000.
For the health matching challenge grant, HCR ManorCare, Mercy, University of Toledo Medical Center and ProMedica will match designations of $100 or more to United Way’s health-focused area for up to $100,000.
For the income matching challenge grant, the Hylant Group, Findley Davies and Fifth Third Bank will match designations of $100 or more to United Way’s income-focused area for up to $50,000.
Oostra has worked with United Ways in different capacities for more than 30 years. “People have ideas sometimes of what United Way is, but it’s really radically changed over the last decade,” he said, adding that the organization focuses on very specific results.
The United Way’s second annual Week of Caring (up from the standard Day of Caring in the past) began Sept. 10. More than 1,400 people from 40 companies are slated to volunteer this week. Oostra said he expects to help out at a local school’s garden.
When he worked with a United Way for the first time more than 30 years ago, “My boss at the time told me it would be one of the best experiences of my life and it was,” he said.
“I can tell you, Randy has really thrown himself into this and has been an extremely visible and willing leader,” Moore said of the new campaign leader.
The Andersons, Inc., Consultants in Laboratory Medicine, Fifth Third Bank, Health Care REIT, Inc. and Owens-Illinois are sponsoring the 2012 United Way Fellow Program, so the organization can temporarily expand staffing during the campaign.
For more information, visit www.unitedwaytoledo.org. The majority of campaign donations will be wrapped up in November, but the final sum isn’t expected to be released until February.
Tags: BP-Husky Refining, Consultants in Laboratory Medicine, Fifth Third Bank, Geoffrey Canada, Health Care REIT, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Ohio Department of Education, Owens-Illinois, ProMedica, Randy Oostra, The Andersons, United Way