Getting ready for the meeting

Bill KitsonNext week (March 7th) is our Annual Meeting. Since we usually have more than 1,000 of our closest friends in the room, there is a high level of anxiety about everything we say and how we say it. But if it were just me talking to you without all the pomp and ceremony of the Annual Meeting, this is what I would say . . .

I will always remember 2013 as the year we narrowed our focus. Going from 19 priorities and 54 strategies down to 10 priorities and 20 strategies in education, income and health was a tremendous feat by our dedicated Community Impact volunteers. They took great data from our friends at Community Solutions and feedback from our dedicated partner agencies, and blended it with the aspirations and realities of real people, as heard in almost 50 community conversations.

The community conversations helped create the blueprint for our work moving forward. Ultimately, United Way’s aspiration is to create a healthy community where every child graduates from high school and every family and individual achieves and maintains financial stability.

I will also remember 2013 as the year we began to understand that we are not just a fundraising organization. As we are changing how we approach our work, we know fundraising alone won’t create the kind of impact our community needs. Going forward, we must recognize and utilize all the ways people can impact their community. Not only giving, but advocating and volunteering, to solve our community’s most pressing problems.

Finally, if it were just you and me talking, I would thank you for caring. I continue to be amazed and grateful for this caring community. Thank you Greater Cleveland!

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