United Way of Greater Toledo, serving Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties, announced a goal of $15.1 million as it kicked off its 95th campaign today.
The kickoff celebration today in Maumee was the first of three campaign kickoffs taking place in the three counties today and Friday.
This year's goal is nearly 10 percent higher than the more than $13.8 million the agency raised last year, a necessary increase to "achieve and grow the services that United Way offers," said Chip Carstensen, president of Block Communications and chairman of this year's campaign. Block Communications is the parent company of The Blade.
"It's a big job that requires big hearts, and Toledoans have big hearts," he said.
To help drive giving, 12 local companies or groups are offering Matching Challenge grants -- totaling $365,000 in sponsorships -- that can help multiply a gift to the campaign. Those grants are:
Right after today's kickoff breakfast at Parkway Plaza in Maumee, the largest Days of Caring in the organization’s history started. More than 2,500 community volunteers -- from companies, groups, and families - will spend time over the next three days in one Central Toledo neighborhood.
The volunteers will work on more than 400 projects, including painting houses and murals, and working on landscaping, building, and neighborhood clean-up. The focus area will be approximately a 10 by four block area of the Junction Avenue corridor.