The United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades has concluded the 2010-2011 Campaign, exceeded the campaign goal, and raised $8,024,525. The campaign had been scheduled to conclude on February 28th; however, the campaign was $311,000 short of the goal. It was extended to Tuesday March 15, and because of a vigorous last push effort by volunteers and United Way Board Members, the goal was met this past Tuesday afternoon when FineMark National Bank and Trust put in the final contribution.

Patricia O’Donnell, 2010-2011 United Way Campaign Chair, and owner of O’Donnell Landscapes announced that local residents and companies contributed $8,024,525 to the campaign.

At the goal announcement O’Donnell said, “I am thrilled to announce that the United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades has reached its campaign goal for the 18 th consecutive year!

“Our generous community has done it again! Despite the difficult economy, you dug deep to give what you could to help our friends and neighbors who are hurting, out of work, or ill. In the toughest economy that we have faced in many years, you gave so others could look forward to a better life. I am so proud of our community.

“What is more important than the fact that we made our goal is that the 72 United Way Partner Agencies will receive their full allocation of funds. The needs in our community have increased significantly in these troubled times. Many agencies have lost funding from both government and private sources. United Way Partner Agencies’ 160 programs will be fully funded and hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens will receive the help they need,” she continued.

“Thank you to all of the individuals, companies, communities and partner agencies for your generous contributions. You proved once again what a caring community this is,” O’Donnell said at the goal announcement.

Nancy Green-Irwin, Executive Director of Senior Friendship Centers said of the United Way, “In these difficult economic times the United Way has again come through for us!  The United Way provides matching dollars for our federal volunteer programs. When you couple the United Way funding with the support our senior volunteers give to over 60 community agencies, that multiplies what we do many times.”

Jill Turner of the Children’s Advocacy Center said, “Our agency sees about 4,000 abused, neglected and at risk kids and their family members, and EVERY child that comes to our agency is touched in some way by a United Way dollar. Without the United Way we would not be able to provide the services we do 24/7.  The generosity of our community and the United Way truly make a difference to these vulnerable kids in Southwest Florida.”

“Making this campaign goal shows how much people in our community care about one another. Despite the economic situation, people gave because they realized how many people were in need. That is why our community is such a special place,” said Cliff Smith, President of United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades.

Joe Catti, United Way Board President and President of FineMark National Bank and Trust announced a milestone for United Way. “Since the inception of our local United Way in 1957, over $104 million dollars have been raised and distributed in our community. To go over the $100 million mark this year is truly remarkable.”

All money raised in the United Way campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network. United Way partner agencies and initiatives like Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Children’s Advocacy Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, LARC and United Way 211 serve a diverse range of needs in our community such as nurturing children and youth, strengthening families, meeting critical needs such as helping the elderly and disabled live independently, and empowering communities by bringing health and human services to neighborhoods.

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies and initiatives, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.