Last week was big for the Indianapolis Colts and United Way — they are both kicking off a new season.
The Colts host the BIG KICKOFF annually on Monument Circle to mark the beginning of the NFL season and the beginning of the United Way fundraising campaign. This year’s campaign chair is Andy Mohr, who owns the Andy Mohr Auto Group. He announced his goal for this year’s United Way fundraising campaign as $42,500,000.
This was the first BIG KICKOFF for Ann D. Murtlow, United Way’s president and CEO, who joined the agency in April.
“This is a great way to celebrate the opening of the NFL season and the beginning of the United Way campaign for the year,” she said. “It amazes me that the United Way has raised $1.1 billion for the community since it opened in 1920.
“Those funds have all come back into our community to support the United Way agencies. We are also here today to sign up volunteers for our ReadUp program.”
ReadUP matches volunteers with local child care providers and schools to help youth get on track — and stay on track — with grade-level literacy.
There are multiple ways for volunteers to get involved, including:
• ReadUP Readers — ReadUP volunteer readers read aloud to small or whole groups of preschool children, helping the children begin their literacy development;
• ReadUP Corps — ReadUP Corps volunteers are trained to provide struggling readers in first and second grades with individualized literacy interventions to help build phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills; and
• ReadUP Tutors — Through ReadUP, volunteer tutors help third-, fourth- and fifth-graders reach grade-level literacy and pass the English Language Arts portion of the ISTEP.
For most Central Indiana children, caring adults are the difference between academic success and failure.
To volunteer for ReadUp, visit the United Way of Central Indiana’s website at www.uwci.org.
“United Way’s unique value is harnessing the power of our collective resources to make a difference in the areas of education, income stability, health and basic needs — a difference that is far greater than any of us could ever make on our own,” Murtlow said. “This common sense approach allows us to serve today while also addressing the root causes of basic needs to improve our community long-term.”
During the kick off event, United Way recognized strong giving results that have already been reported by several early campaigns:
• Easter Seals Crossroads for the largest increase in contributors, 32 percent higher participation;
• Citizens Energy Group for the largest increase in leadership giving;
• Lilly Endowment Inc. for the most overall unrestricted giving; and
• Geico in Hamilton County for the largest first-time workplace campaign that raised $51,272 in employee giving with 90 percent participation.
RJE business interiors won a Distinguished Pacesetter Award for celebrating its10th consecutive year of achieving 100 percent participation and Ann Schneider and Scott Lawson, UAW Local No. 933, co-chairs of the Allison Transmission Inc. campaign, were recognized as the Most Valuable Employee Campaign Coordinator, a role they have served for more than a decade.
Also recognized were 10 companies that last year provided the most ReadUP tutors: Allied Solutions LLC, Celedon Group Inc., Covance Central Laboratories, Cummins, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Hancock Regional Hospital, JBS United, RJE business interiors, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, and United Way of Central Indiana.
At the free community kickoff featuring a volunteer fair, live music, Colts cheerleaders and free Colts posters, the Colts announced they are renewing their incentive to win a pair of Super Bowl tickets in a drawing for anyone who gives a new gift or increase of $150 to United Way of Central Indiana.
Mohr is also providing an incentive for leadership level gifts. Anyone who contributes a new gift of $1,500 or increases last year’s leadership level gift by 10 percent could win a 2014 Toyota Corolla.