United Way kicks off centennial celebrations at annual meeting
AKRON, Ohio – April 18, 2018 – United Way of Summit County kicked off celebrations of its 100th anniversary today at the organization’s annual meeting at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. Since its founding in 1918 as the Akron War Chest, United Way has worked to improve the quality of life for local children and families. Today’s event honored United Way’s storied past while spotlighting its bold vision for the future.
In recent years, United Way has worked to reimagine its role in the community – moving away from traditional, pass-through fundraising and toward a model focused on creating a lasting, meaningful impact. To that end, in 2017, United Way unveiled four Bold Goals by 2025, focused on key community measures – from third-grade reading to fighting the opioid crisis – which will guide its impact work in the years ahead.
In the year since, enthusiasm has continued to grow for United Way’s Bold Goals. 2017 saw a record number of volunteers at United Way engagement events. In May, Akron Public Schools announced that United Way would serve as a link between the College and Career Academies of Akron and local businesses to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. And next month, the Financial Empowerment Center in Kenmore – a product of a collaboration between United Way and the City of Akron – will begin providing free one-on-one financial coaching to Summit County residents.
Local companies have continued to grow their investments in United Way’s work. At today’s annual meeting, the organization announced that 14 corporate Centennial Sponsors have already pledged a total of $1,800,000 in honor of United Way’s 100th anniversary.
In his address to the crowd of more than 650, United Way president and CEO Jim Mullen spoke of the Greater Akron community’s long tradition of community service. Listing examples of United Way’s growing footprint in the community – including its forthcoming relocation to the Sojourner Truth Building in Downtown Akron and pending merger with Info Line, Inc – Mullen called on members of the community to follow the example of key figures of Akron’s past and commit themselves to working together towards an ambitious vision for the future for Summit County.
Also announced at the Annual Meeting were the newly elected members of United Way’s board of directors. Cynthia Flynn Capers, PhD, retired, the University of Akron; Michele Cerminaro, GOJO Industries, Inc.; Jennifer Dale Fox, PNC Financial Services Group; and William Lowery II, Stouffer Realty, Inc. were elected to their second three-year terms. Sandy Auburn, PhD; Elizabeth Bartz, State & Federal Communications, Inc.; Nicholas Browning, The Huntington National Bank; Timothy Burke Jr., KeyBank; Bill Feth, AESCO Holdings, LLC; David Jennings; Kimberly Jones; Andre Lessears, Cleveland Clinic Akron General; Micah Mitchell Hines, Blackwell Burke; Pastor David Parker, Zion Apostolic Faith Church; and Mark Wernig, The Heritage Group at Morgan Stanley were elected to their first three-year terms. William Steere, Steere Enterprises, was elected to a one-year term. Ann Clark, Signet Jewelers; and Pam Williams were elected to a first three-year term following an unexpired term.
A slate of officers for 2018-19 was also announced: board chair, Christine Amer Mayer, GAR Foundation; vice chair, Mark E. Krohn, Law Office of Mark E. Krohn; immediate past chair: James E. Merklin, Bober Markey Fedorovich; treasurer: Michael P. Mazzeo, Ernst & Young, LLP; secretary: Brock W. Steere, Steere Enterprises.
Additional executive committee members announced at the meeting were: administrative chair: Paul N. Catania, Oswald Companies; community impact chair: William W. Lowery II, Stouffer Realty, Inc.; nominating chair: Douglas Krapf, Wells Fargo Advisors; public policy chair: Brant Lee, the University of Akron; strategic planning chair: Stephanie York, Hennes Communications; centennial campaign council chair: Phillip Maynard, The Maynard Family Foundation; Tocqueville Society chair: F. William Steere, Steere Enterprises; and marketing and brand management chair: Michele Cerminaro, GOJO Industries, Inc. Cynthia Flynn Capers, PhD., the University of Akron; Jennifer Dale Fox, PNC Financial Services Group; and Stuart Glauberman, Malco Products, Inc., were announced as members of the at large executive committee.
The event also featured the presentation of awards to companies that went above and beyond to ensure great results through the annual United Way campaign.
Bridgestone Americas received the 2017 “Spirit of Caring Award.” United Way’s highest corporate honor, the Spirit of Caring Award is presented annually to the company that best embodies United Way’s call to action – VOLUNTEER. ADVOCATE. GIVE. In addition to growing its campaign total by more than 14 percent, Bridgestone employees participated in every United Way volunteer event in 2017 and took part in United Way’s advocate training session.
About United Way of Summit County United Way of Summit County takes on the issues that matter most to children and families in Greater Akron. We pursue Bold Goals through forward-thinking strategies, innovative programs and hands-on work in our community. We team up with private and public leaders, local businesses and thousands of volunteers from across our community to create change that matters. Together, we are hand raisers. Game changers. Because there’s a better future in store for Greater Akron, and the time is now to make it happen. Learn more at uwsummit.org.
Contact: Beth B. Boggins
Vice President, Marketing & Brand Management Direct: 330-643-5519, Cell: 330-808-4126 [email protected]uwsummit.org