On Tuesday, Aug. 27, United Way of Greater Cincinnati announced its 2019 campaign goal in what was characterized as a “slight increase” over last year’s total of $50.3 million, which fell short of expectations.
Archie Brown, United Way campaign chair and president and CEO of First Financial Bank, disclosed this year’s goal of $50.5 million, which he called “our target – but the number that really matters is 330,000. That’s how many lives will be changed thanks to the generosity of our community when we reach this goal.”
“One in five Greater Cincinnati residents rely on United Way services,” added Cynthia Booth, president & CEO of COBCO Enterprises and this year’s campaign vice chair. “Contributions help support more than 140 local agencies working to make lives better for those in need.”
Several major Tristate companies and individuals have already pledged $2.5 million to create a Chairman’s Challenge Fund to jumpstart the campaign. This fund includes a donation of $1 million from First Financial Bank.
These donors have also pledged to match new corporate campaigns and new major gifts up to $2.5 million. Additional contributors include American Financial Group, Castellini Foundation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Ohio National Financial Services, Michelman, P&G and Western & Southern Financial Group.
Individual contributors include John and Francie Pepper, John and Eileen Barrett, Michael and Suzette Fisher, Barbara and Daman Turner, Lee and Shannon Carter, Claude and Sara Davis, Julie and Steve Shifman, Gary “Doc” and Milly Huffman, Archie and Sharen Brown, Cynthia and Paul Booth, and Bill and Sue Butler.
The $2.5 million is on top of an additional $2.3 million from companies who have run early “Pacesetter” campaigns, including Baker Hostetler and Western & Southern Financial Group.
We’re just getting started,” said Ross Meyer, interim CEO of United Way. “This campaign is not about United Way – it is about our community. And our community needs us now more than ever. Today, we’re asking everyone to join us. Because when we come together, we can do amazing things for greater Cincinnati families.”
Meyer went on to list ways meeting this goal could benefit thousands across the region, helping people get a strong start in life, thrive in school, find a good job, and overcome a variety of personal and systemic barriers.
“And, most important,” he concluded, “we will help more families break the cycle of poverty for good.”