United giving

Sandy Cutler has a lot of nerve. Cutler, this year’s chairman of United Way’s citywide fund-raising campaign, made a bold move by setting this year’s goal higher than last year’s.

“The health and human services needs of our community have continued to grow during the past several years,” says Alexander “Sandy” Cutler, CEO of Eaton Corp. “(United Way) has targeted a goal of $50 million this year to help meet these increased goals.”

Cutler’s experience with United Way includes a long history of Eaton contributions. A large portion — $1.6 million in 2002 — of Eaton’s philanthropic efforts focused on the United Way, which Cutler believes provides a health and human service safety net that is more critical than ever.

“Less than 12 cents per dollar contributed goes to administrative expenses, and the volunteer allocation structure ensures that contributions reach the most deserving programs,” Cutler says.

In part, the United Way goal illustrates that Cutler is well aware that Eaton is one of the area’s oldest and largest corporate headquarters, and that the firm and its employees are viewed as a vital part of the community.

“We feel it is more than an opportunity but an obligation to give back to our communities to ensure they stay sound, vital and dynamic,” says Cutler. “We believe that talented people want to live and work in dynamic, safe communities.”

But that commitment isn’t contained within Cleveland’s borders. With employees in multiple countries, Cutler ensures that Eaton’s corporate culture supports philanthropic giving throughout the world.

And although a good deal of Eaton’s contributions and efforts go toward local and United Way programs, employees are encouraged to contribute to other causes. In 2002, corporate and employee giving reached more than $4 million.

“We also match employee gifts, so we are supporting their individual leadership, involvement and donations,” say Cutler.

The Eaton matching program — employee donations and company matches — made up 16 percent ($1.6 million) of total corporate donations.

“We trust our employees to make good choices, and our matching gift program is one way of reinforcing the choices they make,” Cutler says. How to reach: Eaton Corporation, www.eaton.com