United Way of Central Florida Completes Record Campaign
Thanks Volunteers and Donors at Annual Meeting
Lakeland, FL – This morning, nearly 300 community leaders and United Way volunteers attended United Way of Central Florida’s (UWCF) 2016 Annual Meeting, at the Lakeland Center. The announcement many came to hear was from UWCF’s 2015 Campaign Chairperson, Kimberly Elmhorst who shared that the organization not only reached their goal, but while promoting the idea of being a #GameChanger, successfully raised the largest amount ever for their annual campaign. The event celebrated the 2015 campaign success and thanked several volunteers and community leaders for their efforts.
“During the 2014 campaign, just over $8.8 million was pledge by local contributors. When we kicked off our 2015 campaign, last fall at Florida Southern College, we set a goal of being #GameChangers and raising $9 million” stated Kimberly Elmhorst. “I never expected us to complete the largest campaign ever, raising $9,081,997. This is a direct reflection of how generous the people living in Central Florida are and how willing they are to help improve the lives of everyone living here.”
The only other time the UWCF surpassed the $9 million mark was in 2013, receiving pledges of $9,034,798.
The efforts and accomplishments during the 2015 campaign of several individuals and companies were recognized. The best new campaign went to Nujak Development. The Summit Award winners who ran model companies in the small, medium and large company categories went to ITW ProAp, Duke Energy and Lakeland Regional Health, respectfully. The Spirit of Central Florida Award which acknowledges a company that surpassed all expectations was presented to the City of Winter Haven.
“A majority of the dollars raised during our annual campaign come through workplace campaigns. Throughout the various companies involved, an employee coordinator works to organize and facilitate the internal campaign,” stated Elmhorst. “The E.C.’s do an incredible job making sure the campaign is a success within their companies.”
Several Outstanding Employee Coordinator Awards were presented:
Agency Partner – Lisa Brewer, Early Learning Coalition Polk
Small Company – William Lay, Kathleen Middle School
Medium Company – Amanda Hurles, Tiffani Gozdur, and Rachael Bennett,
Citizens Bank and Trust
Large Company – Ronda Stutts, The Mosaic Company: Bartow Facility
Greta Dupuy of Publix Super Markets, Inc. and UWCF board member was named the 2015 Employee Coordinator of the Year. Earlier this year, UWCF shared the results of Publix’s campaign. Publix Super Markets, Inc. associates and Publix Super Markets Charities also broke all previous giving records by pledging over $4.4 million to UWCF’s 2015 annual community campaign, a 11% increase over the previous year. In their six-state footprint, Publix campaigns raised more than $58.7 million for United Ways. Their campaign is the third largest in the country, only behind Wells Fargo and UPS.
Having fun with the theme, David Robinson was presented with the 2015 #GameChanger award for his efforts in recruiting donors, new businesses and hosting a special event revolving around the opening day of Star Wars. A little friendly competition between Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A. and Allen & Company helped raise more than $103,000, for bragging rights for the South Florida Avenue Cup.
Before talking about the successes from the annual campaign, Weymon Snuggs, COO of Citizens Bank and Trust and the 2015-16 Chairman of the Board of UWCF, briefly recapped some of 2015’s highlights and the impact made by the investments of previous campaigns.
“United Way impacts the lives of thousands of people everyday, right here in Central Florida,” shared Snuggs. “We are investing in local programs and services that make sure kids are ready and prepared to start school, that people are getting the health care they need and that families are financially stable. These programs are changing lives for the better.”
Mr. Snuggs commented on last year’s hiring of Alan H. Turner II, as the new president and CEO and mentioned the resurgence of the Day of Caring, this year, with more than 600 volunteers throughout the three-county service area helping local nonprofits. He also shared how UWCF is working on a new strategic plan to be unveiled in the fall of 2016.
The keynote speaker was Bryant Lavender. Mr. Lavender is a wide receiver for the AIF Central Florida Jaguars, who play at the Lakeland Center. Besides playing football, he is also an author, personal trainer and motivational speaker. He shared his personal story about being a “Product of a GameChanger”.
The event concluded with Alan H. Turner II, president and CEO for UWCF presenting awards for the recipients’ dedication and commitment to the Central Florida community. John Fitzwater was named Citizen of the Year. The George W. Jenkins Volunteer of the Year, an award given to an active UWCF board member for outstanding service was presented to Weymon Snuggs.
The last award, the Philanthropist of the Year, was created to thank the winner for a lifetime commitment to Philanthropy to United Way and our community. It was presented to Carol and Barney Barnett.
“Not only does this couple make things happen, they inspire others to give and get involved,” stated Turner. “Carol and Barney are synonymous with Philanthropy throughout Central Florida, the southeast United States and throughout the United Way global network.”
Earlier this year at a Leadership function in Tampa, United Way Worldwide’s President and CEO, Brian Gallagher called them ‘United Way Royalty’ and shared that Carol and Barney Barnett are only one of 26 people who have contributed a total of more than $10 million to the United Way network.
Mr. Turner wrapped up the event by inviting everyone to attend UWCF’s 2016 campaign kickoff. It will be at LEGOLAND Florida, in Winter Haven on September 8th. Wesley and Ashley Barnett have been named 2016 Co-Campaign Chairs. This year’s theme and goal will be announced at the event.
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