United Way campaign donations increaseWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Despite tough economic times, United Way of Greater Toledo increased the money it raised during its annual campaign for the second year in a row, collecting $13,607,300 in 2011.
“The community really should be thanked. It’s a tremendous effort,” said Bill Kitson, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Toledo. The sum is a 1.5 percent increase above 2010’s $13,409,320, but still short of the 2011 goal of $13.8 million. Funds from the campaign will go toward United Way’s efforts at improving health, education and income in 2012.
“The fact that we were able to increase 1.5 percent is just a great testament to the engagement and the generosity of this community at both a personal level as well as a corporate level,” said Tom Manahan, 2011’s campaign chair and president of The Lathrop Company. 2012’s campaign chair will be Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica.
The campaign, which officially kicked off in September and ended Jan. 12, received contributions from about 30,000 donors. 2011’s campaign featured a Leadership Matching Challenge Grant, sponsored by Mercy and Medical Mutual, which matched any new or increased leadership gift of $1,000 or more, creating $3.5 million.
The Education Matching Challenge Grant, sponsored by SSOE Group and Lathrop, matched education-designated gifts of $100 or more, garnering $615,000 in education designations.
“The fact that education designations doubled this year shows the fact that the community shares our passion for graduating kids. We’re very concerned that every child have an education,” Kitson said.
Tocqueville Society gifts of $10,000 plus, spearheaded by George and Leslie Chapman, were another source of funds. The Chapmans were able to increase the number of these donors by 20 percent, resulting in a 9 percent increase in dollars donated for Tocqueville Society gifts. About 95 individuals donated at this level, bringing in more than $1.3 million.
Workplace donors included The Andersons, Chrysler Toledo Assembly Plant, Owens Corning, the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Refining Company, the Wood County Government Offices and Owens-Illinois, which set the record with $785,318 in donations.
Many companies offered to match employees’ volunteer hours with cash contributions to United Way or other organizations, a strategy that the United Way may use in next year’s campaign.
“There absolutely is a strategy to this volunteerism. If you could deploy volunteers in very strategic ways, they could be almost as useful as dollars,” Kitson said.
Another unique part of 2011’s campaign was that it kicked off with a week of Days of Caring, where employees give their time to volunteer work, instead of the standard one Day of Caring. Instead of the typical 300-400 volunteers, 1,200 volunteered that week.
“Not only is it the impact of all the hours they put into that volunteer activity, but just the fact that they’re out there in the community, they tend to get a much better feel for the need in the community, and then they get more engaged, which tends to snowball into more gifts, more volunteers,” Manahan said.
The campaign concluded with a Victory Celebration on Jan. 12 at Courtyard at the Docks, sponsored by Dana Corporation. At the celebration, Best Buy received the Spirit of Caring —Outstanding Company award.
“It’s a company that’s really done fabulous work in our community, beyond dollars and cents, getting into the neighborhoods, helping folks with very real issues,” Kitson said.
Some of Best Buy’s work in 2011 included running a “Geek Bus” into low-income communities, where staff taught a computer course. The United Way also awarded Olivia Summons and her team at the Toledo Refining Company the Campaign Team of the Year award. It is the first time since 2008 that the company raised more than $100,000, something Kitson attributed to Summons and her team.
Visit www.unitedwaytoledo.org to learn more.
Tags: Bill Kitson, Chrysler Toledo Assembly Plant, Medical Mutual, Mercy, Owens Corning, Owens-Illinois, ProMedica, Randy Oostra, SSOE, The Andersons, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Wood County Government Offices, Toledo Refining Company, Tom Manahan, United Way