From the Board Chair and President

It seems like only a few weeks ago we were celebrating our $14 million 2012 Campaign result, but our 2013 Campaign is well underway, having unofficially kicked off with our 21st annual Day of Caring on August 21. We proudly announced our goal on September 19th, as you will read below, with the help of some extraordinary community leaders. We hope you will take a few moments to hear their thoughts for yourself through these videos so generously produced by our friends at UB.

Our Campaign goal, though is more than just a number. Success in our Campaign means success for thousands of children, youth, adults, families and seniors across our community through programs and partnerships like On Time to 9, which helped dozens of at-risk eighth graders make the critical transition to ninth grade this year.

Success does not happen without the generosity of our community, and especially the innovation and generosity of companies like Wegmans, Tops, UB, Noco and Shop n Save-Angola, who ran (or will run) scanning campaigns this year to give their customers another way to give; and Ingram Micro and Harlequin, where committed Campaign coordinators and generous employees raise the bar each year for their support of our community through United Way. Our thanks to all of them, and to you, for your support.


Campaign 2013: Setting the Goal High

On September 19, over 150 community leaders and United Way supporters gathered at the UB Center for Tomorrow to hear from community leaders who are personally and professionally committed to helping make our 2013 Campaign a success.

The event was hosted by Jack Walsh, chairman and CEO of Walsh Insurance Group; Jeremy Jacobs, Jr., principal of Delaware North Companies; Peter Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Real Estate; and Howard Zemsky, managing partner of Larkin Development Group - we are grateful for their leadership in inviting their colleagues.

We are also tremendously grateful to our Master of Ceremonies, Buffalo City Court Judge and Acting Erie County Court Judge Robert Russell; and our speakers, including Peter and Jack (who could not attend in person but recorded a personal message that was shared at the event). Their heartfelt messages will inspire so many to give so generously this year:

  • Steve Finch, plant manager, GM Powertrain; chair, United Way Board of Directors;
  • David Hore, co-president, PCB Piezotronics;
  • Amber Cain, quality control, Commercial Lending Operations, M&T Bank; and
  • Dennis Black, vice president, University Life and Services, University at Buffalo; 2013 Campaign chair

The team at UB Center for the Arts filmed the event and put together videos of each speaker, as well as an overview of the entire event.

Our goal of $14.2 million is lofty, but achievable. Thank you for your support as we make this goal a reality for our community this year.


Education Spotlight: On Time to 9 Helps Kids Make an Important Transition

For many children and their families, a new school year is full of hope and promise. This spirit was extended to even more students this year through an exciting pilot program that helped 57 at-risk eighth grade students begin high school this fall with their peers rather than repeating eighth grade. On Time to 9 is a two-month program introduced in June 2013 to provide eighth graders in Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) with intensive tutoring, skill-building, and attendance support services to prepare them to successfully move on to ninth grade.

On Time to 9 is a United Way-funded program offered through the Closing the Gap in Student Performance/Say Yes to Education Coalition. Program partners include United Way, Say Yes to Education Buffalo, and Catholic Charities of Western New York. Seven local service agencies were contracted by United Way to provide resources to the program including Buffalo Urban League, Gateway-Longview, Heritage Centers, New Directions, Summit Educational Resources, Tutor Doctor, and The Family 25 Inc.

On Time to 9 students achieved tremendous results. Of the 72 students in the program, 100% improved their attendance rates over the 2012-2013 school year, 99% of students passed at least one core subject they had previously failed, and 57 students - 79% of those participating - were promoted to the 9th grade. This achievement helps put these students on track to graduating high school with their peers in four years, and helps set them up for success in career and college.

Your investment in United Way helps support targeted programs like this that bring out the best in students—regardless of life circumstances. Jordan is just one example. Because of On Time to 9, he started ninth grade in September, 2013 and is working hard to get good grades. A few months ago, this wasn't the case. As a 15-year-old eighth grader, Jordan struggled with schoolwork, classmates and home life, and missed many days of school last year. Through On Time to 9, he was linked up with Ted, a Rise and Shine Worker from Buffalo Urban League. Ted worked with Jordan and his mother to develop personal goals and ways to improve life at home. Now that Jordan is in high school, he continues to work with Ted and is striving to be a proud, successful, and engaged student.


 Campaign Spotlight: Ingram Micro and Rich Products

Each year more than 1,200 companies and organizations run United Way workplace Campaigns, giving their employees and associates an easy way to make a difference in their community through United Way. We would love to highlight each and every one of them, but in this newsletter we want to offer special thanks to just two: Ingram Micro and Rich Products.

Community is a priority for Ingram Micro - their giving goes beyond the Campaign. This year they participated in the Day of Caring, and numerous Business Meets Community projects. Each project resulted in invaluable service to agencies and our community.

This year, the team at Ingram Micro has gone above and beyond in making their Campaign a success by focusing on communicating the value of United Way through 12 employee presentations. Employees not only learned about what United Way does for others, they also learned how they can access valuable information to help themselves, friends, neighbors, and loved ones in a time of need. These extraordinary efforts resulted in more than 250 new Ingram Micro donors, and pushed their total Campaign to over $105,000 - the first time exceeding $100,000 in 10 years.

At Rich Products, bettering our community is an integral part of company values, and we are proud that United Way is a key partner in that mission in Erie County. Rich's 46-person Campaign team works hard each year to engage every employee in every department and subsidiary in achieving their Campaign goal through speakers, incentives, participation in the United Way Challenge, and more.

Beyond their generous pledges, the Rich's team holds special events to make giving fun. This year, they are holding a "Fall Cleaning" sale, where employees donate gently used items and the proceeds from the sale benefit United Way. Once a week between mid-September and mid-October, they also hosted a Farm Stand sale, giving avid gardeners the opportunity to bring in excess fruits and vegetables from their home gardens and selling them to benefit the Campaign. All these efforts are making a tremendous difference - they are on track to raise more than they did in 2012 with days left to go in their Campaign!


Day of Caring: 21 Years and Still Going Strong - and Going Social!

August 21st marked the 21st annual United Way Day of Caring. More than 3,100 volunteers from 139 companies spent the morning - and some even spent all day - volunteering for local nonprofits at 177 projects sites throughout Buffalo and Erie County.

Nearly 1,200 volunteers gathered at the First Niagara Center early that morning, adding even more energy to an area already bustling with cranes and construction. At 8:30, they all streamed out to the waiting school buses to be transported to their projects. Many of them returned to the First Niagara Center for lunch and to celebrate the tremendous work that was accomplished.

Once again this year we encouraged volunteers, agencies, and even our own staff to share their experience through Twitter and Facebook. We got a tremendous response - visit to see dozens of tweets and photos from the day, and visit our Facebook page at to check out photos and even some Vines. Click the photo in this article to view a slideshow of photos from a variety of projects on our flickr page, as well.

Day of Caring would not be possible without the incredible support of our major sponsors - HSBC, National Grid, and Wegmans. We are equally grateful to the in-kind sponsors who make sure our volunteers are fed, watered and accommodated so well - Delaware North Companies/SportService, Coca-Cola, and First Niagara Center. Many thanks to everyone involved - sponsors, agencies, and especially volunteers - for making this event our best one yet!


Buffalo Bills and United Way: a 40-Year Partnership

This year marks 40 years since a great partnership was begun between United Way and the National Football League. Thousands of games and countless player and staff volunteer hours later, we want to extend special thanks to our hometown favorites, the Buffalo Bills, for their incredible partnership over the years. Every year it seems the Bills' commitment to our community grows stronger, and we are proud to have them as a key partner. Keep up with the 40th anniversary activities, including a chance to vote for your favorite NFL/United Way commercial, starting later this month on our  Facebook page and help us celebrate 40 great years!


Coming in 2014: Women's Leadership Connection!

Next Spring, we will be launching a new way for women members of our Leadership Society to get involved: the Women's Leadership Connection.
Women who give a Leadership gift of $500 or more (with at least $250 non-designated), will automatically be part of the WLC, and receive invitations to exclusive events and opportunities for networking, volunteering, and learning about our community. For information, contact Karen Christie at 887-2656.

United Way Podcast: Hearing from Local Leaders

We are delighted to announce that we have a podcast! Every few weeks we will be sitting down with some of our community's best and brightest leaders to hear about their background, their organizations, and their thoughts about our community. Our first episode, published in late September, features David Rust, executive director of Say Yes Buffalo. To listen, visit


Save the Date: Upcoming Events

Report to the Community, Wednesday, November 20


Upcoming Leadership Society Events* (call Joyce Brown at 887-2799 for more information):


Lunch with Leaders with Leslie Zemsky,Friday, November 1

UB Distinguished Speaker Serieswith Malcolm Gladwell, Wednesday, November 13

Family Work & Play Day, Saturday, December 7


* These events are open exclusively to Leadership Society members, who make an annual commitment of $500 or more to our Campaign. Visit for more information on our Leadership Society.

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