United Way of Greater Cincinnati kicked off its annual campaign yesterday – three months early – to help the many Tri-State families in need. United Way hopes to raise $10 million by Labor Day – a head start toward the goal of at least $50 million by the end of 2020.
“Our goal for this summer sprint is ambitious – it’s double what we typically raise in a summer. But bold action is what’s required right now,” Moira Weir, United Way president and CEO said. “The need for community services United Way supports has grown tremendously since February, especially among low- and even middle-income families who lost jobs over night. As schools close for the summer, the next 90 days are particularly critical for families depending on these resources for meals and other support services.”
In Greater Cincinnati, requests for help continue to roll in even as parts of the economy reopen. United Way of Greater Cincinnati in collaboration with Greater Cincinnati Foundation activated an emergency relief fund, deploying nearly all of it in just two months to local nonprofits. Across the region, there has been a dramatic increase in needs, such as:
- Brighton Center of Northern Kentucky experienced a 300 percent increase in families seeking help with basic needs during the crisis.
- Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio delivered 7,500 emergency food boxes – each with a 14-day supply of food – to isolated seniors in the region.
- Freestore Foodbank is spending five times what it normally spends on distributing food to people in need in the Tri-State.
- Shelters such as Bethany House Services need to pay for hotel rooms to serve their homeless population and keep them properly social distanced.
To help accelerate giving to reach the initial goal of $10 million by Labor Day, P&G has committed to match the first $1 million donated in new or incremental gifts.
Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor, this year’s campaign chair, brought together a diverse team of 80 local leaders to mobilize the business community so critical to United Way’s fundraising campaign every year as well as reach potential new donors who aren’t exposed to United Way through workplace giving.
“We know only a fraction of people in the Greater Cincinnati area have the opportunity to give to the United Way at their workplace. And there are countless others across the tri-state who generously want to give back in a meaningful way to help address the challenges we’re currently facing,” Taylor said. “We need everyone who can to step up. The power of one donation, no matter how small, when placed in the hands of United Way, has an amplified impact. United Way harnesses a combination of community resources to mount comprehensive solutions to the toughest tasks. United Way is THE way.”
The initial phase of the campaign this summer will focus on reaching prospective individual donors in a variety of ways, including a new, easy-to-use website platform (uwgc.org/united) and text giving (text waytohelp to 50503). This fall will mark the official start for many of the traditional workplace campaigns.
United Way is already at work to respond to the COVID-19 crisis within the community in many ways, including:
- Allowing United Way agencies to access early allocations for help with emergency relief.
- Establishing the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund with Greater Cincinnati Foundation, raising more than $7 million and already pushing more than $6 million into the community.
- Establishing its 211 Center as a one-stop shop for COVID relief.
- Reaching out to non-traditional partners (faith-based and community-based organizations) to ensure relief work hits all communities.
- Delivering iPads to help isolated seniors connect with their families.
- Establishing a partnership with Hamilton County JFS and delivering tens of thousands of dollars of gift cards directly into the hands of food assistance applicants to fill the void between application submittal and approval.
- Connecting United Way 211 and Meals on Wheels to proactively reach out to seniors living alone and inquire if they need social services.
- Delivering masks and sanitizers to organizations throughout our community. UWGC will ultimately deliver more than 1 million masks and thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer donated by P&G to social service agencies, faith-based agencies and community-based organizations.
“We are proud of our response, but we know there is so much more to do if we are to recover and revitalize as a community,” Weir said. “United Way is equipped and prepared to meet those challenges. Every dollar invested in this effort will help us achieve powerful outcomes.”