A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

United Way President Michael Johnson taking new approach to annual campaign launch: a 10-stop tour

United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s new President and CEO Michael Johnson is going out into the community to launch United Way’s annual fall campaign with a new series of events aimed at raising the awareness of poverty’s impact on our region.

Replacing the traditional one-day kickoff event, these “Community United” events include an initial 10-stop tour to communities in each of the 10 counties United Way serves.

“At United Way, we unite communities by using our lives to change the lives of others,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to take part in these events and live that idea, not just in the impact we make, but also through the people we meet, the conversations we have and the places where we spend our time.”

Michael Johnson

Events include pop-up style community conversations open to the public throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana set for Aug. 16-25.

“We’re going to talk about serious issues, but we’re also going to have fun,” Johnson said. “We want to tell you a little about United Way, but we also want to hear from you. If we’re going to make a difference, we must get to know each other and work together.”

United Way is leading the largest organized community effort to help local families move on a path out of poverty. Nearly 100,000 families in the organization’s service region are living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. Earlier this year, United Way announced a new investment model, new approaches to delivering services and a new way of working with its 140 partners.

Leading this year’s community campaign are volunteer co-chairs Gary Heiman, president and CEO of Standard Textile Co., Inc. and his wife, Kim Morris Heiman, managing director of Standard Textile Co., Inc.

“We believe that in its essence, United Way gives people the opportunity to succeed and that by working together we can all make a difference that will strengthen our community,” said Gary Heiman. “The impact we make today through United Way has the power to transform thousands of lives and change outcomes for those must vulnerable in our region.”

Regional campaign co-chairs representing United Way’s area centers include: Northern Kentucky Area Co-Chairs: Jim Uebel, Central Bank of Northern Kentucky and Brett Blackwell, Central Bank of Northern Kentucky; Middletown Area Group Chair: Denise Quinn, MillerCoors; Eastern Area Co-Chairs: Greg Sojka, University of Cincinnati Clermont College and Cyndy Wright, Park National Bank.

While Johnson, his team and the community work to raise funds this year to invest back into the region, they’re also developing a comprehensive, multi-year fundraising plan to support its multi-faceted, multi-generational work to help children and families in poverty.

“This year, I ask you to unite for a movement,” Johnson said. “Unite with me and this community to do what none of us can do alone. Attend our events, volunteer, advocate, engage with us on social media and give at whatever level feels right. And please ask others who haven’t traditionally supported United Way to join you this year. Together, we’re doing something different — something special. I want everyone to be part of this.”

Later this fall, the community is invited to celebrate the work accomplished so far at the Community United Celebration, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Nov. 7, at Memorial Hall in downtown Cincinnati.

United Way’s 10-stop Community United Tour dates include:

Thursday, Aug. 16
Roh’s Street Café
245 W McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45219
7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Friday, Aug. 17
Fort Thomas Coffee
118 N Ft Thomas Ave, Fort Thomas, KY 41075
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 18
Velocity Bike and Bean
7560 Burlington Pike, Florence, KY 41042
1 – 3 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 19
Braxton Brewery
27 W 7th St, Covington, KY 41011
12:30 – 2 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 20
Triple Moon
1100 Central Ave, Middletown, OH 45044
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 21
Country Inn Restaurant
290 Brooks-Malott Rd, Mt Orab, OH 45154
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 22
Levee Bar & Grill
51 Walnut St, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 23
Little Miami Brewing
208 Mill St, Milford, OH 45150
5 – 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 24
Main Street Diner
228 Main St, Rising Sun, IN 47040
4 – 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 25
Beans Cafe and Bakery
21 Taft Hwy, Dry Ridge, KY 41035
10 – 11:30 a.m.

Johnson said he’ll also show up in places like recreation centers, barbershops, places of worship and more to talk about United Way’s work throughout the year.

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