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On August 30, United Way of Greater Cleveland kicked off the 2012 campaign traditionally by serving some 3,100 breakfasts on Public Square. The goal however is not so traditional -- announced at $41,000,000 by Campaign Co-Chairs Rick Chiricosta, Medical Mutual president and CEO, and Dan Walsh, Huntington National Bank president of Northeast Ohio, who were surrounded by kids from The Campus International School and the Cleveland School of the Arts. The goal is a two percent increase over last year’s campaign result, representing the largest year over year increase in eight years.
“The children and teens here today remind us that children are our future, and the very best way we can support them is to provide an education to prepare them for a successful future,” said Bill Kitson, United Way of Greater Cleveland president and CEO.
“It‘s just as important to ensure that our families are financially stable and have the knowledge and resources to live healthy lifestyles. And that’s what this campaign is about. United Way advances education, income and health in our community,” Kitson said.
“Contributions to the campaign will help more than 450,000 Greater Cleveland residents this year,” said Chiricosta. “So Greater Cleveland, we have our work cut out for us!”
Walsh reported the campaign kicks off today, but nearly 300 volunteers have been working to raise dollars since last March. “Our 109 Pacesetter campaigns (campaigns that run in the summer) have raised over $2.7 million,” he said, “and we have secured $715,000 in challenge grants to encourage increased giving from Medical Mutual, KeyBank and Baker Hostetler.”
Challenge grants match donor gifts in particular areas of giving. For example, Medical Mutual will match new and increased giving from donors up to $400,000 and new business campaigns 2 to 1.
Thanks to all the volunteers and Cleveland leaders and celebrities who flipped nearly 10,000 pancakes, and to all the UPS drivers who delivered breakfasts to offices throughout downtown.