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United Way for Southeastern Michigan Lights Torch to Kick Off $40 Million Community Giving Campaign

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United Way Campaign Chair and Ford Motor Company COO Mark Fields and United Way President and CEO Michael J. Brennan lead torch-lighting ceremony at Hart Plaza

- $40 million goal established to enable United Way to expand its work on Education, Basic Needs and Financial Stability

- Torch is a long-standing United Way symbol for the organization's annual giving campaign


DETROIT--Sept. 27, 2013: Ford Motor Company Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, who also serves as chair of United Way for Southeastern Michigan's 2013 campaign, kicked off the annual community giving initiative today with a symbolic torch-lighting ceremony at Detroit's Hart Plaza.

Fields announced a fundraising goal of $40 million – $5 million more than last year's target. The funds will accelerate United Way's work 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."

United Way President and CEO Michael J. Brennan attended the event, along with many community members, civic, business and community leaders and other supporters. One of the newest members of the Detroit Lions, Glover Quin, spoke about his support of the campaign.

The lighting of the United Way torch symbolizes 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. Supporting United Way ensures positive, lasting community change will continue at a grassroots level. 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 fundraising campaign runs through the end of the year.