UWLHG to be Recognized at Governor’s Hurricane Conference

United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades is being recognized for its outstanding efforts serving the Southwest Florida community during Hurricane Ian and its aftermath. The Governor’s Hurricane Conference recently announced that the nonprofit organization has been named the recipient of the 2024 Public/Private Achievement Award and will be honored at a May 16 event in West Palm Beach.

In advance of the hurricane’s direct hit on Southwest Florida, United Way 211 was activated by Lee County Emergency Management as the designated Emergency Information Hotline. Manned 24/7, United Way staff and volunteers fielded 25,209 calls directing people to evacuation routes and shelters beforehand, while providing comfort to others as they watched flood waters rise in their homes, then helping people with access to food, water and emergency supplies after the storm.

Among the many tasks undertaken by United Way immediately following the storm, the organization’s Community Impact and Volunteer Center Teams were mobilized and worked alongside the Lee County Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the massive amount of donated goods coming into the community, VOAD groups and spontaneous volunteers deploying to Lee County, and mass care, including the coordination of food, water, and supplies to the most vulnerable communities.

United Way supported local agencies and programs with funding and donations of goods and services. In partnership with Collaboratory, they established the SWFL Emergency Relief Fund which infused $7 million into the community to support nonprofits and to assist families directly impacted by the storm for both short-term and long-term recovery.

United Way President and CEO Jeannine Joy said, “Our entire organization is honored to receive this award. We have been a part of the Southwest Florida community for nearly 70 years and are proud to serve and assist the people of the community in times of need. There is so much more work to be done in terms of recovery, and our United Way is committed to the long-term efforts.”

United Way facilitated relief and recovery efforts through in-kind donations, volunteer management, United Way 211 resource assistance, funding support, and other collaborative efforts:

$33,098,131 received in donated goods with $24,714,226 worth of building/construction supplies, furniture, apparel, home goods, school supplies, etc. distributed to community partners and thousands of households. This number continues to climb.

$10.1 million impact in debris removal, muck and gut, repairs, rebuild, and points of distribution by over 17,000 volunteers with 317,599 volunteer hours tracked to date by the United Way Volunteer Center.

$2,945,768 in funding to 165 agencies and programs to help survivors and provide services and resources.

$969,345 in gift cards to thousands of survivors to help with repairs, immediate needs, and replacement of essentials.

$1,194,444 in direct assistance to survivors to help with temporary shelter, repairs, immediate needs, and replacement of essentials.