Vice President of Government & Community Relations
2016 United Way Campaign Co-Chair
2016 United Way Campaign Co-Chair
United Way of Greater Cleveland 2016-17 Co-Chairs Heidi Gartland and John MacIntosh are gearing up for a bold and exciting new United Way campaign. We recently visited with them to gain insight on their inspiring and motivational work in the Greater Cleveland community.
Q: How long have you been involved with United Way?
Heidi Gartland, VP of Government Relations at University Hospitals: I’ve been at University Hospitals for 22 years, and I’ve been involved with United Way for most of that time. Back in my early years here, I was director of child advocacy for Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and Rainbow was one of the major health care providers receiving United Way funding. The fact that the dollars I gave to United Way were recirculating back into our work at Rainbow excited me. Also around that time, Rainbow ran an organization called Voices for Ohio’s Children, which convened agencies addressing issues such as child abuse and neglect, and food insecurity. Many were United Way agencies. So United Way was a natural extension of the work I did every day.
A big reason I still give today, and a reason I chaired our UH campaign last year, is that United Way really invests in the community. United Way agencies ensure that those vulnerable patients we care for at UH continue to receive services they need after they’re discharged from the hospital.
John MacIntosh, Managing Partner for KPMG: My first involvement dates back to over 30 years ago. I first started in our Los Angeles office and at the time, and like a lot of companies, they ran a traditional United Way Campaign, so that was really my first exposure.
I was in LA for 10+ years and then I transferred to our Atlanta office. That was when I went deeper into United Way. At the time there was a big Atlanta-based company that was running a matching program to try to get people up to the de Tocqueville status (donors of $10,000 and more). That caught my attention and was the catalyst to becoming truly meaningful in terms of my personal involvement from a financial standpoint.
Q: What aspect of United Way’s work is most important to you?
JM: We are really trying to move the needle in certain areas, and the area that’s most important to me is on the preventative side. Certainly having a safety net after challenges and issues happen — that’s incredibly important — but always trying to be on the preventative, and proactive, side captures my unwavering support. So where United Way focuses in on a support organization that truly values people to make the right decisions and wise choices, that’s what’s most impactful.
HG: United Way is really our community’s safety net – neighbors helping neighbors. United Way’s health and wellness work is, from my perspective, the most important in the here and now. And United Way’s focus on education improvement is an investment into the future of our community and its kids – making sure they graduate from school, have connections to careers, and have the inspiration and opportunity to go on to higher education if they choose. This work is about more than the children – it’s about the future economic health of our region and our nation.
Q: Describe the engagement in your workplace for United Way campaigns.
HG: I chaired our campaign at University Hospitals last year, which gave me the chance to see the engagement of our physicians and employees up close and personal. We have 18 hospitals, our system headquarters and many outpatient health centers, and our campaign runs system-wide. Yet what is so interesting and inspiring is how people at each entity embrace the campaign locally with local events, challenges and projects. So at the local level, the campaign really takes on each entity’s individual identity. We can all work together toward the same goal, but each entity has its unique spirit – and we all learn from each other.
Q: Will there be any tie to UH’s 150th anniversary with your current campaign?
HG: We’re doing a lot of really cool things to commemorate UH’s 150-year relationship with our neighbors, and one of the neatest is our partnership with United Way for our Days of Caring volunteer drive. By the time our anniversary year ends in May 2017, we hope to have provided 150,000 hours of volunteerism to our community – 150,000 hours for our 150 years. Our physicians and employees have joined with United Way for literacy events at Harvey Rice Elementary School, and we and the Browns paint locker rooms at James F. Rhodes High School. We’ve done things to benefit the Boys & Girls Club. And we have a number of other group events coming up, in addition to all the individual volunteerism by members of our UH family in their own community organizations, schools and churches. This volunteerism emphasis reminds our physicians and employees that UH and Northeast Ohio have a very unique relationship. And United Way makes it easy for us to do good and have fun.
JM: If you look at the profile at KPMG, we have over 30,000 people across the U.S, including several hundred in Cleveland. And, if you look closer at the demographics, a high percent of our profile is under 30-years-old. So what we’re trying to do is instill in them a desire to give back to the community. Every one of our 80 offices across the US focuses in on that and it’s really part of the culture that we’ve built. In any given year, we have 85 to 90 percent participation; very few people choose to opt-out. And what we’ve really been doing in the past few year is make it real, not just ‘this is something we want you to do,’ but for people to want to do this and understand the why.
This includes handpicking a number of our junior level personnel every year to go out and spend time at a United Way agency and report back on what it is that agency does, and tell their peers about it. We also make sure to socialize those learnings across our entire office through our own KPMG version of a pancake flip, which is a big kick-off every year in our office.
We are also hyper-focused this year on exploring ways that United Way locally supports improving literacy for children in our neediest communities. KPMG nationally has a program called KFFL, which stands for “KPMG’s Family for Literacy,” and this is something we’re working very hard on, trying to move the needle and get new books in to the hands of elementary school children.
This summer, we partnered with the Cleveland Public Library, focusing on the Sterling Branch in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood, to support their Summer Reading Club. Every week for eight weeks, we sent in KPMG volunteers to read with the children and provided those children with new books to build their personal library at home. In this coming year, we’re really going to try to tie in KPMG’s national initiative with KFFL and the significant momentum that we have built with the Cleveland Public Library to incorporate more broadly into the efforts of United Way of Greater Cleveland and make this even more impactful.
Q: What are your plans for the campaign and how do you plan to encourage giving?
JM: We are really trying to articulate in a passionate way the value proposition of United Way and the benefits of a federated giving model. People should want to embrace United Way and all of the things that United Way does in terms of qualifying and evaluating programs, etc., and that you can have impact if you give to United Way. Historically, we assumed people understand that, but with the millennial generation and ability for people to give to anyone in any way they want, we have to reemphasize the why. Heidi and I are really out to help enhance the message that’s already existed, so that when we’re out talking with companies, they understand why to give to United Way.
HG: We’ve created an amazingly great campaign cabinet with team leaders who really inspire. We have the best and brightest, most passionate, civic-minded leaders, and they can really get out across our region. They inspire people who are already doing an amazing job and they can uncover companies that we haven’t reached out to in a while.
The United Way here has dynamic new leaders, with Marc Byrnes as board chairman and Augie Napoli as president and CEO. They have passion, vim and vigor, and John and I are really committed to helping them and the organization succeed by growing participation across the community.
Q: Heidi, talk about something good about working with John.
HG: He’s fun to be with. I love his laugh. And he’s brilliant in his insights about people and process. He can really be a strategic force for the United Way.
Q: And John? Something good about working with Heidi?
JM: Heidi is equally passionate. She is creative, has a lot of energy and is terrific. Heidi is also excellent at articulating United Way’s value proposition. I think we make a good team.
Q: What is your hope and goal for the 2016-17 campaign?
JM: One of the goals would be to get people to reconnect with United Way, to broaden the base. There’s certainly companies that have been there year in and year out, but there are too many companies that have fallen by the wayside. We need to attract new companies, corporate contributions, and further inspire involved companies to increase their level of participation within their employee base.
HG: When the Republican National Convention came to town, everybody knew it. Now, we want everybody to know that the United Way campaign has come to town. We want to spread the word that United Way has fresh, innovative, motivational leadership at the top of the organization and at the top of its board. We want to elevate the campaign’s visibility, and inspire people to want to be on the winning United Way team.
Q: What impresses you about Greater Cleveland?
HG: The fact that people have such a strong, outsized sense of community – and I do believe we are a very giving community, in terms of our philanthropy. We have more foundations, and larger foundations, than most other cities. And from a philanthropy standpoint, we are the envy of many other communities.
JM: People in Cleveland have grown up here and want to be here and it’s a small enough community where there’s great relationships with not a lot of anonymity and I actually see that as a positive.
Q: Tell me something about you personally, do you volunteer with other organizations, your family life, etc.
HG: My husband, Dan, and I have been married for 26 years and we have two grown children. One just graduated from college and is living with us while working for AmeriCorps; the other one lives in Chicago. Now that our kids are older, Dan and I like to travel and be outdoors, whether that’s golfing or gardening or going to a concert at Blossom. I really enjoy people, so we’re always doing something social. I love photography. And I’m on nine nonprofit boards – local, state and national. I really enjoy getting involved in the larger community.
JM: I have wide-ranging interests and like outdoor activities such as golfing, boating, hunting and sporting clays. I am just as comfortable at a country-western concert as I am going to see the Cleveland Orchestra. I’m also on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Boy Scouts, BVU and am now on the Greater Cleveland Partnership as well, so I’m very involved civically. And, like Heidi, I’ve been married a long time. My wife and I are married 28 years and I have two children, one’s 15, the other’s 22.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
JM: We feel honored to have been asked to do this and we’re going to put our energy and time behind this to make it a successful campaign. I think that given the challenges and also the transition that United Way’s gone through, there’s a great opportunity to reshape people’s views and build on the success and impact that United Way can and will make in this community.
HG: As John said, this is an honor – and it is also a very big responsibility to be challenged to raise $40.5 million from the community, for the community. The many United Way success stories I’ve heard inspire me to rise to that challenge. And I’m really looking forward to getting to March next year and finding we’ve beaten all of our expectations.