Merklin to Receive Distinguished Leader Award
Local Advocate for United Way, other causes honored by Leadership Akron Alumni Association
Published by the Leadership Akron Alumni Association
May 22, 2014
Akron, OH – The Leadership Akron Alumni Association has named James E. Merklin this year’s recipient of its Distinguished Leader Award. The award recognizes a graduate of Leadership Akron who contributed in an extraordinary and significant way to a specific issue or cause in the community. The award honors Merklin’s leadership in dramatically increasing the membership in the United Way’s Tocqueville Society, which recognizes major donors to the campaign. A graduate of Leadership Akron Class 19 in 2003, Merklin is a Partner in charge of Assurance Services at Bober Markey Fedorovich in Akron, Ohio, and a resident of Copley.
In 2010, he developed a new strategy with the United Way staff to grow the membership in the Tocqueville Society, which recognizes those who give $10,000 or more to the United Way campaign each year. In his first year as chair, they increased membership by 35 members which, at that time, was the largest annual increase in United Way of Summit County history. Then again, in 2011, he helped increase the roster by 36 members. Impressed with Jim’s leadership and innovation, the United Way nominated him to serve as the campaign’s vice-chairman for the 2012-2013 campaign. He continued to work with Tocqueville, recruiting past winner of the Distinguished Leader Award and fellow member of Class 19, Mark Krohn, to chair the group, and they raised their numbers by a whopping 39 in 2012 and 45 in the 2013 campaign.
Including Jim’s term as chair of the overall campaign, the Tocqueville Society has thus far added 155 new members under his leadership, representing a nearly 70% increase in the Tocqueville Society’s membership. Today, the Tocqueville Society has become a primary source for the United Way campaign, accounting for nearly 25% of the total dollars raised.
Merklin drew upon his experiences chairing the Tocqueville Society Committee to lead a record-breaking year as the overall United Way campaign chair in 2013. By continuing to grow the ranks of the Tocqueville Society and encouraging stronger giving by everyone who joined the campaign, the United Way of Summit County raised $12.2 million and shattered its previous record of $11.8 million.
“What we’ve done is transform how people feel about the United Way. We want people to see United Way as a conduit for their giving,” said Merklin. “It will last long beyond my time there.”
As a member of many boards and committees, including the boards of NEOMED Foundation and Leadership Akron, Merklin’s community contributions extend further than just his work with the United Way of Summit County. “Jim’s talent for successful fundraising campaigns has helped create a sustainable future for the United Way of Summit County, enabling them to multiply their impact for those in need. By leading for the greater good of the community, Jim has exemplified the mission of Leadership Akron,” said Mark Scheffler, president of Leadership Akron.
Merklin will travel to the Northeast regional conference of the Association of Leadership Programs in Verona, New York in June 2014 to receive the award.
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