United Way of Greater Cleveland’s annual campaign kickoff brought a long-standing tradition back to Public Square this year. The Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip, held August 31, 2016, served more than 1,000 breakfasts in the newly renovated square, where guests enjoyed local celebrities, entertainment and a serious amount of pancakes with the end goal of addressing serious needs in Greater Cleveland.
“There is a depth and complexity to the needs in the community that even the most engaged of you may not realize,” said Augie Napoli, United Way president and CEO. “There are crisis-level shortfalls in basic needs, education and financial security that would shock you. And that must be addressed by the one organization in Greater Cleveland that has the ability to innovate, convene agency leaders, gather community feedback and reflect that in donor investments on the scale only United Way can.”
Napoli was joined by United Way board chairman Marc Byrnes, Oswald Companies chairman; United Way’s 2016 campaign
co-chairs Heidi Gartland, University Hospitals vice president of government and community relations, and John MacIntosh, KPMG managing partner; as well as Ricky Smith – United Way advocate, comedian and founder of #RAKE (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere).
Byrnes reflected on his personal connection with United Way as an infant adopted into a loving family, and reminded the audience that by working together we can accomplish our goals to create opportunity, safety and security for all.
Gartland and MacIntosh spoke of the work already being done in support of the 2016 campaign, and highlighted the positive impact United Way donations make in our community — from the hundreds of thousands of Greater Cleveland families and residents who received help to meet their basic needs, to the more than 252,000 calls for help that were answered through 2-1-1.
“Together, we can make a difference and create the change we want in our community,” said MacIntosh. Added Gartland, “Together, Clevelanders have tremendous power.”
Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a pancake breakfast and to all the volunteers who helped out during the Pancake Flip. We had a great time and hope everyone who had an opportunity to spend a little time with us enjoyed themselves!
Special thanks to Northern Haserot and Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, sponsors of the 2016 United Way Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip.