For many of our volunteers and donors, when they join United Way, they make a life-long commitment. 

So is the story of Bob Sullivan, a United Way board member and our Campaign Cabinet chair for the last two years. For decades, Bob’s engaged with United Way, and year after year his investment and enthusiasm for our work grows. 

“I’ve always viewed United Way as a family — always there to support and care whenever someone’s in need,” he said. 

Sadly, as our fiscal year draws to a close, so does Bob’s time leading our fundraising campaign. In recognition of his hard work, we’re celebrating his enduring investment in United Way. 

A life-long United Way supporter 

As a young man, Bob learned the phrase “to whom much has been given, much is expected.” From an early age, these words encouraged him to give back to his community. 

Upon graduating from college in the mid-70s, the company he was working for assigned him to be a “loaned executive” with a local United Way for a few months. “I was quickly taken with the work,” providing technical support to United Way staff during their fundraising campaign, he said. 

As his career progressed and his zip code changed, he stayed engaged with local United Ways, serving on boards and chairing a campaign in Cincinnati. 

“I’ve always viewed United Way as a family — always there to support and care whenever someone’s in need."

Rallying support for United Way of Metro Chicago 

Upon relocating to Chicago to serve as regional chairman of Fifth Third Bank, Bob doubled-down on his commitment to service. He joined our Board of Directors and, eventually, was selected to chair our 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns. 

In this role, he’s educated others about the impact of our work and enlisted donors to generously support our mission to build stronger neighborhoods. He’s done so with an appreciation for what he calls our “unique and efficient” strategy to not only serve whole households, but entire neighborhoods.

“I really believe United Way is the most comprehensive non-profit. Many other organizations may be singly-focused or siloed, but United Way encompasses the whole spectrum [of a household and community’s needs,]” Bob said. 

All in all, Bob describes this work and his time as Campaign Cabinet chair as “humbling” and “a labor of love.” 

Looking to the future 

Though Bob will no longer lead the fundraising campaign, we won’t be saying “goodbye” to this lifelong friend. Bob will continue to serve as a board member and invest his time and energy into our work. 

Before he hands over the torch, he shared this advice with the incoming Campaign Cabinet chair, David Casper, president and chief executive officer of BMO Harris Bank North America: 

“Roll up your sleeves and get involved!” Bob said. “And I know he’s a humble guy, but to just recognize the power he has to convene donors and companies. There’s nothing more powerful than that.” 

* * *

Thank you, Bob, for your giving your time and passion to United Way as Campaign Cabinet chair. We appreciate all you do to create a stronger Chicago region.

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