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African American Initiative gears up for Pennies for Many

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by Brandi Barhite, The Toledo Free Press

Childhood obesity and economic empowerment are among goals of the United Way African American Initiative.

Money raised through Pennies for Many, a campaign to begin this fall, will go toward those objectives.

“Childhood obesity crosses all racial lines,” said chairwoman Terri Ellis. … “We have young people who are starting to [get] diabetes and having heart attacks and strokes at early ages.”

When donors bring in money to Fifth Third Bank, the children will receive coloring books and information on how to save money. Financial planning products will also be available for adults, she said.

Ellis, who is the financial center manager for both Downtown Fifth Third locations, said money donated will go toward healthy living initiatives. In the spring, 2,500 children attended Jump and Play Super Saturday, for example.

Another goal is to create an online resource for people in the community to have easy access to youth programming for fitness and nutrition, according to Jason Daniels, United Way staff liaison for the initiative and vice president of community impact.

Daniels said the initiative also calls for a comprehensive Web site for financial advice. People would be able to access the site for the best financial practices and statistics on the housing industry. The site would be geared specifically toward the community.

When the initiative was started three years ago, it was called Targeted Leadership Initiative and limited to those who made donations of $1,000 or more.

Since then, the name has changed, as had its inclusiveness.

“You do not have to donate a certain amount … just designate to the initiative,” he said.

In addition to childhood obesity and financial know how, the initiative takes pride in its Lunch for Leaders. The brown bag series features a leader the third Thursday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This work is also dear to my heart. I graciously take it on. It has grown tremendously,” Daniels said.

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Written by Symphony

August 31, 2008 at 6:30 am

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