United Way surpasses annual fundraising goal

United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades met its $11 million annual campaign goal, marking the 31st consecutive year that supporters have rallied to support United Way and its partner agencies.

United Way President and CEO Jeannine Joy, along with Campaign Co-chairs Kevin Karnes (Lee County Clerk of the Court) and Jay Santos (an associate relationship manager with Key Private Bank), announced May 30 that this year’s campaign – Uniting Heroes, Inspiring Hope – had raised $11 million through pledges from employees of local pacesetter companies, businesses, and generous individuals.

“Our annual fundraising goal reflects the needs of our network of partner agencies, and that need increases nearly every year,” Joy said. “To continue reaching or exceeding that target annually is nothing short of phenomenal. We are fortunate to live in a community where those who have the means to help are ready and willing to lend a hand to those who need our support.”

All money raised through the campaign stays in the local community to support United Way’s human service network of partner agencies, which include Harry Chapin Food Bank, Community Cooperative, Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Children’s Advocacy Center, Literacy Council Gulf Coast, Boys & Girls Clubs and dozens of additional organizations that serve a diverse range of needs in the community.
The 2023-24 campaign had a superhero theme, and Karnes said supporters took that message to heart.

“They may not always wear capes, but we saw many ‘heroes’ step forward to donate this year, and their actions have ‘inspired’ hope for every partner agency that relies on the community’s support to achieve their mission and vision,” Karnes said.

“The foundation of our community is built on the strength of those who live and work here,” Santos added. “Whether it’s education, health care, the arts, hunger or any other social services, our partner agencies are working diligently every day to provide our friends and neighbors with access to the services and programs that will improve their quality of life.”

Nearly 52% of donations during the 2023-24 campaign originated through United Way’s Pacesetter program, which consisted of 175 businesses and organizations that launched internal fundraising campaigns last fall.

This year, United Way recognized 185 individuals as Alexis de Tocqueville Society members, a designation awarded to supporters whose philanthropic gifts make the biggest impact on local nonprofits. Tocqueville Society members contribute a minimum of $10,000 to United Way during the campaign.