Using his love of racing to frame the new United Way campaign year, Christopher Ruud at Ruud Lighting helped kick off the new fundraising effort on Sept. 8.
The organization has an ambitious goal, asking for $5.25 million, a five percent increase over the 2010 goal, which United Way didn't meet.
"This is our largest campaign ever," said Dave Mauer, United Way executive director. "We were short of our goal, but I think we'll make it this year."
Ruud echoed the sentiment.
"I actually have two goals with this campaign," he explained. "I want to increase giving by five percent to meet the goal that Dave has set. But I also want to increase participation by five percent."
Saying he understands that not everyone can afford to give money to United Way, Ruud wants to encourage people to give of their time and talents.
"We need to grow awareness so people can participate in programs," he stated.
County Executive Jim Ladwig and City of Racine Mayor John Dickert have a friendly competition to see which government office can raise the most money with the most participants.
"It's important to be involved because we are part of the same community," Ladwig said.
Participants and Ruud employees were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Racine County Food Bank as well.