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United Way of Greater Cleveland Closes 2016-2017 Campaign with Annual Meeting

Kendra Wheeler, media relations manager

Today, United Way of Greater Cleveland closed the 2016-2017 fundraising campaign with an annual meeting at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland with 1,100 donors, volunteers and supporters in attendance.

Campaign Co-Chairs Heidi Gartland, vice president of government and community relations, University Hospitals and John MacIntosh, managing partner, KPMG revealed more than 70,000 donors and organizations contributed $40,274,176 to help more than 400,000 people in Greater Cleveland succeed in school, secure basic food and housing needs, attain financial stability and achieve good health via 128 local health and human service programs.

The $40.2 million campaign total is comprised of gifts from individual donors, approximately 1200 companies and organizations that conducted workplace campaigns; $50,000 in challenge grants from Eaton and Medical Mutual; $2 million raised by federal employees’ combined federal campaign and companies such as KeyCorp, Eaton, Cleveland Clinic and PNC each raising more than $1 million.

“We are thrilled to finish the campaign with essentially at the total raised last year — less than one percent,” said United Way President and CEO August Napoli. “With new fundraising strategies, enhanced marketing communications efforts and renewed energy, I’m confident United Way can and will reverse the downward trend of the past 10 years.”

Gartland and MacIntosh also introduced Beth Mooney, chair and CEO, KeyCorp and Chris Kelly, partner, Jones Day as United Way’s 2017-2018 campaign co-chairs.

Napoli addressed attendees with statistics exemplifying the impact made in Greater Cleveland. He also announced changes to the organization’s traditional business model.

Because of United Way investments, in the past 12 months, more than 18,000 people received food assistance, more than $3 million for prescription and medical supplies was leveraged and 500 students participating in United-Way funded programs are now reading at or progressed toward grade level.

And in 2016, nearly 280,000 contacts were made via phone or chat to United Way 2-1-1, a 24/7, free and confidential helpline. United Way 2-1-1 serves 26 counties, making it available to 3.5 million people.

“As we reinvigorate ourselves to march toward our goal, we’ve taken bold steps to refashion United Way for the 21st century,” Napoli said.

Napoli announced United Way’s realignment of the development staff to focus on community campaigns, new affinity group outreach efforts and new media and markets. Additionally, the 103-year-old nonprofit will utilize new technology and adopt a user-friendly process for online giving to enhance donor relations. Lastly, he announced United Way is changing the date for United Way’s annual meeting.

“We are moving our annual meeting date in 2018 from March to September to align the campaign and newly expanded fundraising efforts with the end of our fiscal year,” he said.

In his remarks, United Way Board Chair Marc Byrnes acknowledged United Way’s volunteers. He also recognized outgoing board members and those starting new terms, including Pastor Dr. Jawanza Colvin of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church.

“Thousands and thousands of individuals volunteer their time with United Way to make our community better,” he said. “Volunteers are the very essence of United Way.”

United Way’s annual meeting also included elements of entertainment. The Distinguished Gentleman of Spoken Word, a group of males ages eight to 18, performed poetry to the annual meeting theme of “Together, We’re Greater.” And Cleveland School of the Arts’ R. Nathaniel Dett Concert Choir closed the show performing “Stand Together” – a song written and composed exclusively to describe United Way’s work in the community. “Stand Together” is available for download by texting UWANTHEM to 51555.

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