Live united


United Way of Greater Toledo faces a dilemma: Because of the continuing bad local economy, it needs more help every year. Yet that same lagging economy makes it harder for Toledoans to open their pocketbooks wide enough to meet the need.

United Way officials have set this year's fund-raising goal at $13.8 million -- the same target as last year, when $13.6 million was collected. There is no better way for Toledoans to help our neighbors.

In recent years, United Way has concentrated more of its time and resources on programs designed to increase high school graduation rates. As ProMedica President Randy Oostra, chairman of the 2012 campaign, argued in a Readers' Forum letter on Tuesday, one of the best ways to improve communities is to improve the education of young people.

Your donations help the United Way maintain programs that increase school attendance rates, decrease suspension rates, keep homeless students in school, and provide bags of food for needy children. Challenge grants give you more bang for your donated buck.

This year, The Blade and BP-Husky refining will match education-focused donations of $100 or more, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. HCR ManorCare, Mercy, University of Toledo Medical Center, and ProMedica will do the same for health-related donations, also up to $100,000. Hylant Group, Findley Davies Inc., and Fifth Third Bank will match donations of $100 or more to programs that concentrate on income support, up to $50,000.

Despite their own economic troubles, people in this area dug deep and barely missed meeting last year's goal. Toledoans know that the way to a better future for everyone is to "Live United."