BY JEREMY SHERE, PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVE RAYMER
One day last February, Barry Lessow, executive director of United Way of Monroe County, ran into Malcolm Abrams, Bloom editor and publisher, at the Local Artists Showcase cosponsored by the magazine. Casually, Abrams pitched an idea. Partnering with United Way, Bloom would issue a challenge to small, medium, and large local businesses and organizations to see who could raise the most money for United Way causes and affiliated agencies. The prize: The winner in each category would appear on the cover of the magazine.
Lessow took to the idea immediately. “I loved the notion of a friendly competition not only spurring businesses to participate but also uniting participants through the common thread of ultimately working together to do good in the community,” he says.
And so The Front Page Challenge was born. From this past June, when the Challenge formally launched, through late October, participants raised $42,368.02 for a variety of United Way member agencies and projects.