8.18.17 – United Way of Greater Lorain County kicked off its annual campaign Friday and celebrated the dual 100 year and 50 year anniversaries of the agency’s founding as the War Chest in 1917 and becoming United Way in 1967. The event took place at Mike Bass Ford with the goal of motivating donors and partners to recruit others to join in supporting the organization’s initiatives.
“Big problems require bold goals and decisive action and that’s what we’re after,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper. “We go looking for our community’s most critical problems and we rally the community around those problems to find long-term solutions. This requires a fundamental systems change and we need the community’s financial support to continue the work.”
United Way’s focus was highly visible as each of the 11 Community Collaboratives that the organization supports held interactive stations for the guests. The stations, which ranged from classroom yoga demonstrations to fine motor skills activities, were a fun way to illustrate small initiatives that can be implemented as part of a larger collaborative to impact the community.
“The goal for this event is to engage our supporters and the entire community in our work so they can make a visible connection to where their donations are going,” said Harper. “This is a fun and informative way for us to highlight the importance of giving during the annual campaign so the work can be sustained and expanded as needed.”
United Way has looked to collaborate in order to achieve better results by pooling resources and supporting capacity building within the agencies that lead the collaboratives. As a result, United Way’s work with the Community Collaboratives has received prominent local and national attention over the past few years, ranking in the top ten nationally for United Ways of similar size and being named the Ohio United Way of the Year for 2016.
In addition to dollars raised through the annual fundraising campaign, United Way and its more than 130 collaborative partners work together to leverage additional funds through outside grants. With this model in place, 55 cents is added to each dollar raised through the annual campaign.
This year’s campaign is chaired by Stacy Kilgore, senior healthcare business manager at PolyOne Corporation. The Campaign Cabinet also includes Tim Alcorn of AM 930 WEOL, Cindy Andrews of Oberlin Community Services, Keith Brown of LCCC, Brad Calabrese of UH Avon Health Center, Peggy Chamberlain, retired, Amonica Davis of the Nordson Corporation Foundation, Tanya de Almeida of the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant, Kosta Mathiellis of the Cleveland Clinic, Michelle Reisinger of Ridge Tool Company and Hallie Smith-Petee of Nordson Corporation.
The free lunchtime event was hosted by Alcorn and featured over 300 United Way supporters and community members wearing Live United t-shirts and enjoying grilled hamburgers and hotdogs sponsored by Mike Bass Ford. Side dishes were prepared by the LCCC Culinary Arts Program and desserts from the Residence Inn by Marriot at the Emerald Event Center in Avon. Entertainment was provided by Just Dreaming Entertainment, local mascots including Slider from The Cleveland Indians, and the Midview High School Marching Band.
This year marks the seventh consecutive campaign that has kicked off at Mike Bass Ford as part of a strong relationship between the dealership and United Way of Greater Lorain County.
Those interested in getting involved with this year’s campaign can learn more at uwloraincounty.org. Upcoming opportunities include the Week of Caring from Sept. 9 through 16 which will include 19 different volunteer projects across Greater Lorain County. There will also be a public open house at United Way’s new Center for Community Transformation building at 642 Broadway Ave on Sept. 7 from 3 to 7 p.m.