Last Friday, September 27th, Ford Motor Company Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields initiated the annual United Way community giving campaign for Southeast Michigan with a symbolic torch-lighting ceremony at Detroit’s Hart Plaza. Fields, who also serves as chair of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, announced a fundraising goal of $40 million — $5 million more than last year’s target.
The funds will help expedite United Way’s efforts toward improving the first five years of the lives of children in Southeast Michigan to ensure that in 2030, when many are high school seniors, they will graduate as the most college- and career-ready class in the nation.
“There is new energy building in Detroit and the surrounding communities,” said Fields. “Working together, we have a tremendous opportunity to make this a better place to live and work. United Way’s work to prepare children for college and careers is important for families, and for every business looking to grow in Greater Detroit.”
Also in attendance at the event was United Way President and CEO Michael J. Brennan, as well as many community members, civic, business and community leaders and other supporters. And one of the newest members of the Detroit Lions, Glover Quin, spoke about his support of the campaign.
Those familiar with United Way for Southeast Michigan might be aware of the meaning behind the lighting of the United Way torch — symbolizing a public- and private-sector collaboration to achieve a common goal: making Greater Detroit one of the top five places in the country to live and work by the year 2030. The campaign is especially important today, given the fact that the last few years have been financially difficult for the organization, which relies on a combination of individual and corporate contributions, as well as grants, to survive.
“Ford Motor Company and its employees have a long history of generosity and leadership,” said Brennan. “We appreciate the support of the Metro Detroit business community and individuals as we build on the tradition of generous giving in our region, and create remarkable and tangible change in our community.”
The United Way fundraising campaign runs through the end of the year.