United Way Campaign Kickoff


United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades celebrated their Campaign Kick Off for 2021-2022 at Caloosa Sound Convention Center and Amphitheater with 750 attendees.  Event sponsors included Clinger, Sizemore & Associates, FineMark National Bank & Trust, O’Donnell Landscapes, Inc., and Publix Super Markets.

Campaign Co-Chairs, Noelle Branning, Lee County Tax Collector, and Corey Vertich, Partner of Uhler and Vertich Financial Planners opened the program from a DeLorean as Marty McFly and Doc Brown.  The Back to the Future theme allowed Branning and Vertich to share how it is time for our community to recover and focus on the future.

Alexis de Tocqueville Chair, David Lucas, was honored for being the founder and chairing the society for 30 years. The Alexis de Tocqueville Society is for donors who personally donate $10,000 or more annually to the United Way. Over the past 30 years, Lucas has raised over $51 million for United Way. Lucas has already raised $3.4 million for this year’s campaign.

Pacesetter Co-Chairs, Karen Ryan of LCEC and Bob Beville of Waterman Broadcasting announced this year’s Pacesetter Company results. Pacesetters are those who run their campaigns early to demonstrate support of United Way and to set the pace for the rest of the community. Pacesetter companies saw an overall 7% increase in giving. Pacesetter giving added to early Alexis de Tocqueville giving, mean that United Way is currently at $6.1 million raised or 54% of the annual goal.

The top 8 Pacesetter companies are:

  1. Publix Super Markets 2020 - $1,418,424
  2. Bonita Bay Group - $617,352
  3. Beesley's Paw Prints - $303,000
  4. FineMark National Bank & Trust - $215,000
  5. LCEC – $200,000
  6. Lee Health - $190,713
  7. Lee Board of County Commissioners - $150,000
  8. The School District of Lee County - $110,000

Co-Chair Noelle Branning said, “We cannot thank our Pacesetters enough for the great start to this important campaign. The $11.3 million dollar goal is essential to improving the lives of our friends, families, and neighbors in our community.”

Co-Chair Corey Vertich added, “We are thankful to all of our donors and volunteers for deeply caring about the wellbeing of our community. What an amazing start to such an important mission in our community.”

All money raised in the United Way Campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network of partner agencies. United Way Partner Agencies such as Harry Chapin Food Bank, Community Cooperative, Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Children’s Advocacy Center, Literacy Council Gulf Coast, and Boys and Girls Clubs serve a diverse range of needs in our community.

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies, helping them to work together focusing on issues that continue to improve lives.  The United Way’s mission is “The United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades is a volunteer driven organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in our community.”

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades was established in 1957 and over $198 million has been raised and distributed since that time. For more information, please call (239) 433-2000 or visit UnitedWayLee.org.