Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and chair of UTC3 — the University’s annual Community Charitable Campaign — smiled as she looked at her computer displaying donations totaling six figures.
With a goal of raising $125,000 between Nov. 1 and Dec. 22 to support more than 220 local nonprofits, Soliz described the success of the campaign by saying, “We are at $127,622.”
Although only one UTC3 campaign fell short of its financial mark in years past, Soliz was worried about this year’s contributions.
Just months ago, the University of Toledo’s first Day of Giving, Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives, raised over $450,000 for the university.
“We weren’t sure we were going to be able to meet our goal due to the fact that everyone had just given,” Soliz said.
But, by rallying support and spreading the message via email and video message, donations flooded in.
“UT is once again very proud to support the broader Toledo community through UTC3,” said University of Toledo President Sharon Gaber as she kicked off the campaign in an online video. “As a university and as individuals, we are one. Please give regardless of the amount to support the charities of your choice.”
With four major foundations receiving funds — Northwest Ohio Community Share, EarthShare Ohio, Health Charities and the United Way — participants had a range of organizations to donate to, including the African Wildlife Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Toledo.
For Celia Williamson, professor of social justice, UTC3 was a chance to “stand united in support for people that are less fortunate.”
Mentioning personal prosperity and the importance of paying it forward, Williamson said, “As we celebrate our success, and we cash our paychecks and we drive home in our nice cars to our warms houses…we are making a commitment that we’re contributing to the betterment of people who don’t have as much as we have.”
For others, like David Kubacki, psychiatry department administrator, UTC3 “was a pretty easy way to contribute positively and also support the local charities who are in the trenches and are really trying to make this Toledo region better.”
As head of the campaign, Soliz reflected on what it was like to see the donations roll in.
“It’s very humbling to see how many people went to their own finances and found maybe an extra $10 to maybe $1,000 to give to the community,” Soliz said.
To thank each UTC3 contributor, a breakfast with President Gaber will be held Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 8:30-10 a.m. in the Grogan Room of Savage Arena on Main Campus.