By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer
United Way of Greater Cleveland will host its annual Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip, Wednesday Aug. 31 in Public Square. This event marks the start of United Way’s annual campaign, which runs through March 2017.
From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., approximately 100 volunteers — including United Way staff, board members and Cleveland media and personalities — will be serving $5 pancake breakfasts, which include three pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee.
Guests can preorder their breakfasts online for pick-up or by texting PANCAKES to 51555, or come down the day of. Guests are welcome to eat in seating provided under festival-style tents or take their breakfasts to go. Unlike years past, the logistics of the renovated Public Square will not allow for office deliveries.
“For the Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip, we’ll have live entertainment on Public Square, local celebrity flippers and a speedy pick up area for guests who pre-ordered and have to get back to work,” said Shanette Buford-Brazzell, event manager at United Way.
For the past two years, the event has been held at several Cleveland Metropolitan School District schools, including Case, Harvey Rice and East Tech. This was done in part because of the construction on Public Square in 2015, as well as to emphasize the impact United Way has in the community it serves. This year, the Pancake Flip will return to its traditional location, rain or shine, at the event plaza between Rebol restaurant and the Soldiers and Sailors monument.
At 8 a.m. there will be remarks from the fundraising campaign co-chairs Heidi Gartland, vice president of government and community relations at University Hospitals, and John MacIntosh, managing partner for KPMG; United Way Board Chairman Marc Byrnes; and United Way’s President and CEO, August Napoli.
Throughout the morning there will be entertainment including corn hole, music from DJ Dennis Bella and emcee Ricky Smith, founder of Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, and comments from the campaign co-chairs.
“I’m humbled, honored, but I feel that it’s a very big responsibility to raise that kind of dollars for the community,” Gartland said. “It’s the community’s dollars for the community and, to me, I’m very inspired by the stories I’ve heard and I’m just really looking forward to hopefully getting to March next year and beating all of our expectations.”