United Way campaign surpasses $13.8 million goalWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Stephanie Stelk, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
The United Way of Greater Toledo held its annual meeting and campaign celebration on Feb. 7.
Gathering at The Premier in Toledo, the agency celebrated reaching its 2012 campaign goal of $13.8 million, announced new board members and highlighted volunteers.
The purpose of the event was to “celebrate the hard work of a lot of people. People who give their time and talents, people who support the community financially or take leaderships roles in their own companies, people who passionately want to make a difference in making our community a better place to be,” said Randy Oostra, 2012 campaign chair.
The total raised during the 2012 campaign was $13,828,490.
The goal of United Way of Greater Toledo is to change the lives of Toledo area residents through health, income and education.
“United Way of Greater Toledo is the organization that brings together the people, organizations and resources to get done what can only be done when we work together,” said President and CEO Karen Mathison.
“Our focus right now is graduating children, improving the financial independence of hardworking families and increasing access to healthcare,” Mathison said.
These goals are reached through the donation of time, energy and resources both from United Way employees and community volunteers.
“Together we are changing Northwest Ohio for the better,” Mathison said while addressing the crowd at the Feb. 7 event. “That’s what it means to Live United.”
One way United Way recognizes the efforts of those involved in bringing its mission to life is by presenting the Spirit of Caring Award.
Oostra said the event is a “great celebration of the community and a great celebration of the volunteer spirit.”
Each year, awards go to one company and one individual whose leadership, service, and commitment is displayed through their involvement with United Way.
This year, the individual award went to Cindy Dana, a member of the United Way board of trustees. Dana is also the founding chair of the United Way’s Public Policy Advisory Council, co-chair of the Community Impact Cabinet and a member of the Women’s Initiative of United Way’s Governance Committee.
The company award went to Fifth Third Bank, which during the past 19 years has contributed more than $6 million and 6,000 hours of community service to United Way.
President and CEO Robert LaClair accepted the award on behalf of the bank.
“This is truly an award for our employees and all they do in the community. It’s just a great tribute to them,” LaClair said after the presentation. “Our belief has always been if we can create a stronger community, if we can help lift people up, it comes back to the bank. A stronger community means a stronger bank.”
New board members announced included Kevin Cook, president and CEO of Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center and Metro CEO; Cynthia Geronimo, executive director of the Lucas County Land Bank; Beverly Schmoll, dean of the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service at the University of Toledo; and Chip Carstensen, president of Block Communications. Carstensen was also announced as the 2013 United Way campaign chair.
Tom Waggoner, president of The Andersons’ Turf & Specialty Group, officially transitioned to board chair during the event.
“United Way is effective because they are accountable and focused on results,” Waggoner said.
Moving forward into 2013, United Way’s campaign goal will focus on collaboration as well as maintaining the mission statement of United Way — changing lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community.
For more information, visit www.unitedwaytoledo.org.
Toledo Free Press Managing Editor Sarah Ottney contributed to this report.