2023-2024 Annual Impact Report


A letter from our Board Chair:

United Way holds a special place in my heart because of the profound impact it has on our community and the lives of those in need. Being part of this organization allows me to witness firsthand the positive changes that can be achieved when people come together with a common goal of helping others.

United Way plays a crucial role in addressing the most pressing issues in our community. By supporting a wide range of programs and initiatives, United Way helps make a real difference in the lives of others. Whether it's providing meals for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, or educational resources for children, United Way's efforts touch countless lives in meaningful ways.

United Way brings together businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and individuals to tackle complex social problems. This collaborative approach amplifies the impact of each organization's efforts and creates a more cohesive and effective support network for those in need. This comprehensive approach ensures that our community is stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to face future challenges.

This year, we celebrated all the heroes in our community, and I was honored to serve as the United Way Board Chair.

Noelle Branning, Esq., CFC Tax Collector


The Fund Distribution process is the cornerstone of our United Way. It ensures fiscal and program accountability for all agencies receiving United Way funding while meeting the social service needs of the community. During the annual review process, community volunteers look at the effectiveness of each agency in providing services, assess the programs in the region, and analyze the impact of United Way funding.


414 volunteers - 16% more than last year 43 teams

92 agencies visited

3 new agencies

260 funded programs and initiatives Click here for impact stories.



Circle of Excellence -

$1M+: Bonita Bay Community & Publix

$500K+: Phoenix Bay/Bonita Bay Group, O’Donnell Landscapes, Inc., Sanibel Captiva Communities

$200K+: Beesley’s Paw Prints, Fiddlesticks, FineMark National Bank & Trust, Grandezza, LCEC, Lee Health, Pelican Landing, Shell Point Retirement Community,

  1. Pat O’Rourke

$100K+: Cypress Cove, Gulf Harbour, Lee Board of County Commissioners, Pelican Preserve, The Brooks, Uhler Vertich White Advisors, United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Employees, Leslie and Ron Ezerski, Susanne and Larry Pickering, Janie and Dean Schreiner, Joan and Don Sherman, Barbara and Al Seimer



The 2023-2024 Campaign saw the community continuing to recover from one of the most destructive hurricanes in Southwest Florida’s history. Campaign Co-Chairs, Kevin Karnes and Jay Santos, embraced their inner hero and ensured our campaign goal was met for the 31ST YEAR IN A ROW.

Dr. Barbara Mundy and Bob Beville led the campaign in Hendry and Glades Counties. The money raised in the Hendry and Glades Campaign stays local in order to serve the agencies and residents in those counties.

Over the course of 33 years, the Alexis de Tocqueville Society has raised over $64 million. This year, the esteemed Alexis de Tocqueville donors, who each generously contribute over $10,000 annually, represented a remarkable 46% of our campaign's total contributions. We welcomed 22 new members, bringing the membership to an impressive 185. Collectively, they raised an extraordinary $5,014,498. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Alexis de Tocqueville Society founder, David Lucas, for his unwavering dedication and inspirational leadership, which continues to propel our community towards greatness.


United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades is unique for many reasons. One of those is that in addition to providing funds to nonprofit agencies throughout the region, we also provide a myriad of highly beneficial programs to our community! United Way has been named a 4-Star Charity on Charity Navigator since 2014.



Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program - $11.5M Impact!

United Way’s free tax preparation program helps low to moderate income households meet their basic needs and build financial assets. Residents who earn a household income of $66,000 or less can have their federal tax returns prepared, e-filed and direct deposited for FREE by United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. For the 2023 tax season, 234 IRS-Certified Tax Preparers filed 8,100 tax returns, contributing 18,000 volunteer hours (a $572,400 value). VITA helped generate $8.4M in refunds and saved our community $2.4M in tax preparation fees! VITA operated in 23 sites in the Southwest Florida region, and hosted 15 special events.

Beesley’s Paw Prints, A United Way Collaborative - 22,621 People Reached!

A pet therapy collaboration with Children’s Advocacy Center of SW Florida and Gulf Coast Humane Society engaged 82 volunteers at 60 different locations! Together, over 2,226 volunteer hours of pet therapy were provided, with a total reach of 22,621 people! Beesley’s teams saw 35 new volunteer teams in 2023. A private Beesley’s Volunteer Facebook group was created and has succeeded in increased volunteer engagement.

United Way 211 - 75,637 Contacts!

Every hour of every day, someone in our community is searching for health, human, or social services. Skilled Information and Referral Specialists provide community resources from a database of over 1,350 rigorously evaluated organizations and programs. A total of 75,637 contacts via phone, chat, and email were recorded with an average wait time of 56 seconds. United Way 211 provided $932,853 in assistance to 2,429 families, demonstrating a significant impact on our community's well-being.

Top 5 Needs: Utility services, payment assistance | Rental payment assistance | Tax prep assistance | Homeless related needs | Food related needs

United Way Mission United - $144,747 Direct Assistance Provided!

Mission United served 3,337 veterans, active-duty military, and their families through case management, service navigation, information, and referrals. There were 1,411 veterans enrolled in Care Coordination services to provide peer support for veterans with mental health and substance abuse histories. Bonita Bay Veterans Council helped to support 118 Direct Assistance cases for veterans.

ARPA - $20 Million

American Rescue Plan Act funds have been allocated for 65 nonprofit agency projects, with 80% of the funds already distributed and put to use. The remaining projects are scheduled to be finished by the conclusion of 2024.

United Way Gifts In Kind - $18.89M in items distributed to those in need!

The United Way Gifts In Kind Program provides access to millions of dollars of donated goods to nonprofits. The goods include: furniture, personal care items, household goods, office equipment, and more. Through the generosity of donors - the total fair market value of donated items was $23,064,264 in 2023. Many of these items were home goods given to survivors of Hurricane Ian who lost everything. Additionally, over 50,000 toys were distributed to 40 Partner Agencies during the Christmas season.


United Way School Resource Center - $1.95M in supplies distributed to students in need!

Working closely with school guidance counselors, social workers, and resource officers, the program supports K-12 students in the School District of Lee County. Now in its fourth school year, the UW SRC has distributed over $1.9M in brand new necessities such as backpacks, school supplies, hygiene items, shoes, and clothing.

United Way Houses - 487,237 Client Services Delivered!

United Way Houses currently provide a place where individuals and families can receive wrap-around social services from multiple organizations in 17 locations. We opened two new locations: South Fort Myers & Clewiston. The United Way Houses help to build resiliency within our community. In 2023, United Way Houses delivered 487,235 client services, an increase of nearly 6% from the prior year.

United Way Community Partnership Schools - 18,895 Expanded Learning Hours!

A United Way Community Partnership School is both a physical place, as well as a set of partnerships between a school and community resources. Our partners include Lee Health, Florida Gulf Coast University, and University of Central Florida. Located within Franklin Park Elementary, Colonial Elementary, and Fort Myers Middle Academy, our Community Partnership School initiative provided 18,985 hours of expanded learning opportunities for the 2023-2024 school year. They provided 630 wellness referrals and services.

Over 34,500 basic need resources were given to students, including food, clothing, and hygiene items. The team even went on a sponsored trip to Wales, England where they learned how the CPS program is run ‘across the pond’!

United Way WeCare Program - $9.2M Donated Care Provided!

United Way’s WeCare Program connects eligible, uninsured patients with volunteer medical providers. WeCare allows participants suffering from serious medical conditions access to specialty medical care free of charge through the support and generosity of over 300 caring professionals in Southwest Florida. A total of $9,208,080 in medical care was donated by 201 volunteer providers and specialists, impacting 332 uninsured patients in our community. This includes 7,063 medical procedures and 36,251 volunteer hours making this life-saving program possible. United Way was also nominated for and won the Innovation Award for Gulf Shore Business HealthCare Heroes.

ReUnite, A United Way Collaborative - 1,437 Families Enrolled!

ReUnite provides peace of mind to parents and caregivers of vulnerable individuals prone to wandering. The program provides families with a free scent kit that will aid search and rescue operations by equipping them with critical information in the event the individual becomes lost. Partnering with Lee County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in Hendry and Glades Counties, we currently have 1,437 families enrolled in ReUnite. This is a 98% increase! Community outreach was provided at 66 events in 2023.



Total Organizational Volunteer Impact

66,916 hours - $8.9M value

1,450 Facebook Volunteer Group members 5,588 Volunteers on Volunteer Portal -

Special thanks to Uhler Vertich White Advisors & LCEC for sponsoring our Volunteer Portal!

78 United Way Days of Caring equates to:

1,30 volunteers, 5,251 hours, $175,856 value for our partners.

The Volunteer Center had 71 tabling events, 22 blood drives that covered - 6 high schools, 3 United Way drives, and 1,018 pints of blood collected. They held 4 Volunteer Management Workshops and 3 Volunteer Center Orientations.

Hurricane Ian Recovery Volunteerism included:

318,292 hours, over 17,200 volunteers, and an impact of more than $10.1M.


Governor’s Hurricane Conference - Public/Private Achievement Award

To an individual or small or large organization from the not-for-profit or private sector that has made a substantial contribution to hurricane preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation or research in the State of Florida.

Horizon Council Industry Appreciation Awards - Nonprofit Partnership Award Recognized an outstanding partnership between a business and a nonprofit organization on an initiative or project that has made a significant positive impact in Lee County. United Way’s collaboration with Matter Brothers was highlighted for helping residents after Hurricane Ian.

Gulfshore Business Healthcare Heroes Awards -Innovation - WeCare

Recognizes an organization that has made a positive advancement in medical care or medical science. The Community Foundation: Top 6 Most Outstanding Boards of Directors in Southwest Florida

Recognizes their outstanding leadership in the nonprofit sector. These remarkable individuals prioritize

what truly matters, bringing more brightness to our lives.

Digital Media Reach:

131,302 page views on UnitedWayLee.org 962M total media reaches

6,187 followers on Facebook 905 followers on Instagram 519 followers on LinkedIn