United Way of Metropolitan Dallas kicked off its 92nd annual community fundraising campaign on Friday, September 9th, with a goal of raising a record $75 million. Led by 2016-2017 Annual Campaign Chair and Chairman and CEO of Celanese Corporation, Mark Rohr, the effort will build on the unprecedented success of last year’s campaign, which raised $73 million for North Texas. Resources raised by United Way support efforts to achieve bold, 10-year community goals to prepare at least 60% of all high school graduates to succeed in college and careers, move 250,000 more people out of poverty permanently, and improve health and quality of life across North Texas.
During an early morning rally from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. at AT&T Plaza in Victory Park, hundreds of United Way volunteers, service providers and community and business leaders encouraged North Texans to donate online and through a text-to-give campaign to leverage matching gifts on September 9. Supporters were encouraged to give by texting UNITED to 50555. Dallas students also attended the rally, broadcast live on WFAA Channel 8, to showcase education projects led by Celanese volunteers, including egg drops, beaker density experiments and LED light displays, demonstrating United Way investments in education.
As part of this year’s campaign kickoff, United Way and Celanese announced the new “Grow South, Grow Strong” impact initiative, designed to build and sustain education-focused volunteer engagement in southern Dallas. Celanese has committed more than $1.1 million to create volunteer projects to bolster student success in the city’s southern sector. Projects will remove barriers, expand opportunities and unite community leaders and corporations in assisting schools, non-profit organizations and parents.
“United Way is changing lives in our community by enriching education and providing families with a more secure future,” said Rohr. “By expanding community engagement opportunities and focusing on volunteer efforts, we can help families and schools in southern Dallas reach their full potential.”
Following an influential line of global CEOs committed to local United Way leadership, Rohr succeeds Fluor Corporation Chairman and CEO David T. Seaton in the role of Annual Campaign Chair. Rohr has served as Chairman and CEO of Celanese, a Dallas-based Fortune 500 global technology and specialty materials company, since 2012. As part of a deep commitment to corporate social responsibility, Celanese has contributed more than $11 million to United Way over the past 10 years.
“As we launch this campaign under Mark Rohr’s capable leadership, we are eliminating barriers to success and opening the doors of opportunity for all North Texans,” said Jennifer Sampson, President and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Thanks to the boundless generosity of donors, United Way continues to make measurable progress in providing all children and hardworking families a new way forward. There’s no better return on investment.”
“Grow South, Grow Strong” aims to increase the number of volunteer hours in southern Dallas by creating meaningful and rewarding engagement opportunities. In its first year, the initiative will increase the number of volunteer hours by at least 25% and double the number of corporate days of impact in southern Dallas. By collaboratively building awareness and a network of committed volunteers, “Grow South, Grow Strong” strives to equip and empower students with support critical to their success.
“We have a projected elementary schools volunteer gap of 2,000-plus in our city’s southern sector,” said Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD Superintendent. “This generous commitment by Celanese and United Way will begin bridging that gap to prepare and inspire students in southern Dallas. These kids need to know how much this community cares about them.”
“No organization is better positioned than United Way to address the most pressing issues facing our community,” said United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Board Chair Anne Motsenbocker, JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Director and Head of South Middle Market. “We’ll work tenaciously to create a bright future for our region- one in which our children are healthy, graduate from high school ready for success, and go on to find employment that leads to a lifetime of financial stability.”
To learn how to get involved and give, visit www.unitedwaydallas.org.