The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has concluded the 2018-2019 Campaign, and exceeded the campaign goal of $10,301,386. This is the 26th consecutive year that the goal has been met or exceeded.
Campaign Chairs Linda Doggett and Robert Shearman made the announcement that local residents and companies contributed a record amount, $10,438,361 to the campaign which is a 4% increase. The theme of the 2018-2019 United Way Campaign was the “The Power of U!” “The generous people of Southwest Florida took “The POWER of U!” theme to their hearts and put the campaign over the top!” said Linda Doggett, Campaign Chair, Board Member, Lee County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller.
The announcement was made at the March 29th meeting of the United Way Board of Directors at United Way headquarters. Robert Shearman, Campaign Chair, Board Member, and attorney with Henderson Franklin Attorneys at Law said, “Not only did we top the goal, we exceeded it by over $100,000! That means more local people can be helped by our 96 United Way Partner Agencies. We live in an extraordinarily generous community, and to all of you who gave, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
“Making the goal means our agencies will receive their full share of funding for the coming year, including agencies and programs that are new to the network such as the Cape Coral Caring Center, Midwest Food Bank, Cancer Alliance, and Gulf Coast Humane Society,” said Linda Doggett. “Long standing United Way Partner’s like Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Children’s Advocacy Center, The Salvation Army, and Bonita Springs Assistance will be able to continue their vital programs because our United Way surpassed goal. Because of your generosity, hungry families will receive food, veterans will find support through Mission United, abused children will find safety and shelter, older persons can find assistance to remain in their own homes, and thousands of lower income families can get their taxes done free through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). You gave so others could have a better life,” she concluded.
Robert Shearman added, “All funds raised by our United Way stay here in our community, and our United Way keeps administrative and fundraising cost extremely low, investing 92% of the money raised into local agencies and programs. Our United Way has been named a Four-Star Charity, the top rating on Charity Navigator for the past 7 years, and we are one of very few charities in the nation to receive a perfect overall score of 100%. Charity Navigator is one of the most utilized evaluators of charities used to guide intelligent giving.”
“Again, a very sincere thank you to all of the individuals, companies, communities, and partner agencies for your generous contributions. You proved again what an incredibly caring community this is,” Shearman concluded.
The top local contributing companies and the top communities are as follows:
Top United Way Contributors
One Million + Circle of Excellence
Bonita Bay Community
Five Hundred Thousand+ Circle of Excellence
Bonita Bay Group
Islands of Sanibel & Captiva
Two Hundred Thousand+ Circle of Excellence
FineMark National Bank & Trust
One Hundred Thousand+ Circle of Excellence
Lee County School District
Lee Board of County Commissioners
McGriff Insurance Services
Break-Out Campaign Award
Many United Way Partner Agencies were represented at the Goal Announcement, and executive directors of the agencies talked about how important United Way is to their success and ability to assist their clients.
Dotty St. Amand, Chief Executive Officer of Lighthouse of Southwest Florida said, “United Way funds are essential in assisting us to fulfill our mission of enabling people of all ages who are living with blindness or vision impairment to achieve independence. From babies to older adults, our programs positively impact the quality of their lives at each stage of life’s journey. We couldn’t make it happen without the generosity of United Way donors.”
Meg Geltner, Executive Director of Pace Center for Girls, said, “The appreciation that PACE Center for Girls has for the United Way’s support is wide-ranging. The United Way funds supports our PACE girls who are transitioning from the PACE school back into the Lee County School District. The funds pay for our master-degreed transition counselor who supports the students before, during, and after their transitions. The success of this system of care is measured by the number of PACE girls who are graduating from high school. In 2019 eight of our girls will be graduating from high school. United Way ROCKS!”
Chris Hansen, CEO of Child Care of Southwest Florida (CCSWFL), a United Way Partner Agency, talked about how vital the United Way’s support is to the organization’s success as they work to enhance the lives of children and their families as an accredited, preferred Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) provider. “The daily support and collaboration from the United Way and other partner agencies allows CCSWFL to do its part to ensure children have an opportunity to experience quality early childhood education and nutritional support. The program does more than prepare students for Kindergarten; it gives them the foundation necessary to become lifelong learners and contribute to the success of our community.”