CINCINNATI — United Way of Greater Cincinnati has raised $11 million in its annual fundraising campaign so far this year, surpassing a goal it set earlier this summer to raise $10 million by Labor Day.
That’s more than twice the amount the organization typically raises during the summer. United Way hopes to raise a total of $50 million by the end of this year.
“I’d say that’s a really good start,” Procter & Gamble Co. CEO David Taylor said Thursday during a Zoom meeting with local business and community leaders. “We do know the hill is steep, but it’s great to get off to a really great start.”
Taylor, who is chairman for this year’s United Way campaign, said he understands the COVID-19 economic crisis makes contributing to the campaign more difficult for many businesses and employees.
That same crisis means the community’s needs are greater than ever.
“Until we get to the other side of COVID,” Taylor said, “there are going to be a lot of folks that need our help.”
United Way CEO Moira Weir said this year’s campaign is “more critical than ever” and stressed that under her leadership, the organization is working to address deeply rooted problems in the community.
“We exist at the United Way for region-wide, ingrained problems such as we’re experiencing now,” she said.
The last couple of years have been challenging for United Way.
The controversy surrounding the October 2018 departure of Michael Johnson, United Way’s first Black CEO, laid bare internal divisions at a time when the organization was struggling to raise money.
The 2018 campaign closed out with just over $50 million in pledges, roughly $12 million less than United Way raised in 2015. It resulted in less funding for the more than 140 nonprofit organizations that got money from United Way that year.
The 2019 campaign raised enough by last November to avoid additional cuts but fell short of its $50.5 million goal.
United Way announced in January that Weir would be its next CEO, the first woman to hold the top job at the organization in its more than 100-year history.
She started the job in March, a week earlier than expected, to work on United Way’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Taylor said Thursday that he knows it will be challenging to raise a total of $50 million this year in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, but added, “goals are floors. The ceiling is, frankly, boundless.”
More information about United Way’s campaign and how to donate is available online.
Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. To reach Lucy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.