United Way of Central Florida

United Way Honors Community Leaders at Annual Meeting

Lakeland, FL – The United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) hosted its Annual Meeting on May 30 at the Polk Theatre. The organization honored a number of individuals and organizations who helped make 2011 a successful year.

The evening kicked off with a rousing rendition of “Ribbons in the Sky” by American Idol Season 11 Finalist Jeremy Rosado. The Girls Inc. of Lakeland Order My Step Dance Ministry performed along with Rosado. Rosado, a resident of Valrico, Fla., also sang “Celebration.”

United Way Board Chair James Horton, State Farm Insurance, welcomed those in attendance and acknowledged the accomplishments of the volunteers and partners that make the United Way an organization that builds better lives and stronger communities.

Next, Cindy Alexander, 2011 Campaign Chair, announced that the “I’M IN!” campaign had surpassed its $8.7 million goal by raising $8.76 million. Alexander said that this success was made possible by the employees of hundreds of public, private and non-profit sector companies that join one another each year in a unified community-wide United Way Campaign.

Four awards were presented to recognize exemplary corporate citizenship of companies that support the United Way of Central Florida. The Best New Campaign and three Summit Award recipients were selected through an objective analysis of their campaign best practices, measurable results, in-kind, and volunteer support. Through this analysis, the United Way established these awards three years ago and selected the winners.

The Summit Award is given each year to small, medium and large companies that meet objective criteria during their campaign. The small company Summit Award was given to a company with fewer than 100 employees.

Alexander presented the Small Business Campaign of the Year Award to Allen & Company. With 100% donor participation and a $510 per capita gift Allen & Company increased its campaign by 14.5% in 2011. Ralph Allen, CEO of Allen & Company, accepted the award.

The second Summit Award was presented to an organization with more than 100, but less than 300 employees. SunTrust Bank accepted the award for medium company. The company increased leadership giving from 15 to 29 members, a 93% increase. SunTrust participated in Day of Caring, numerous fund raising events and had an 11% increase in participation. Bonnie Parker accepted the award.

The third Summit Award went to an organization with more than 300 employees. Watson Clinic was presented with the Summit award for a large company. Watson Clinic has raised more than $100,000 each of the last 7 years. The company has served as a campaign Pacesetter, allowing United Way staff and agency speakers to share information with all of their departments at multiple locations. Kelly Lonsberry accepted the award on Watson Clinic’s behalf.

The Best New Campaign was presented to Mid-State Machine & Fabricating. Mid-State Machine & Fabricating completed its campaign with a contribution of $48,856, coming into United Way’s “Top 50” at number 18. Lauren Jones accepted the award.

Next, Alexander introduced incoming 2012 Campaign Chair Dr. Eileen Holden, President of Polk State College and United Way Board member. Dr. Holden thanked Alexander and recognized her for her work as the 2011 Campaign Chair.

Dr. Holden announced that the 2012 Campaign theme would be “Invest Today. Impact Tomorrow.” She then introduced Dr. Sherrie Nickell, Polk County School Superintendent, to discuss the United Way of Central Florida’s new Early Literacy Initiative. This initiative, sponsored by Carol and Barney Barnett, focuses on engaging, training and deploying volunteer tutors to increase the number of students reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

Tutors are asked to volunteer for one hour, one day a week using a curriculum that compliments the core competencies students are required to master. Under the supervision of classroom teachers and initiative trainers, volunteers will be asked to provide two 30-minute tutoring sessions each week throughout the school year. For information on volunteering, visit www.uwcf.org/noblehour.

Next, Rich Shapiro, retired Ledger Media Group executive and United Way 2010 Citizen of the Year recipient, announced Rick Tillis as the 2011 United Way Citizen of the Year. Rick, an employee at Mosaic’s New Wales facility, has served as an Employee Coordinator, as chair of his Community Investment Team and chaired the 2011 Day of Caring Committee. He has been a member of the United Way’s Leadership Giving Association for six years and currently serves on the 2012 Campaign Cabinet.

Rick also serves the community where he lives through his church and other community events. He volunteers at the Mulberry Community Service Center by assisting with financial classes.

United Way of Central Florida staff members nominate candidates for Citizen of the Year. Ideal candidates are contributors and volunteers involved in United Way in a primary or leadership role over a continuous period of time. Board members are not eligible. The UWCF staff makes the selection.

John Fitzwater, a retired Ledger Media Group executive and 2010 George W. Jenkins Volunteer of the Year recipient, introduced Ron Clark as the 2011 George W. Jenkins Volunteer of the Year. Ron is best known as the Chairman of Clark, Campbell and Lancaster.

He has been in volunteer leadership roles with the following organizations: Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, Lakeland Vision, Lakeland Yacht and Country Club, Rotary, Polk County Legal Aid and Polk Vision.

He previously served as both Campaign Chair and Board Chair for United Way of Central Florida Campaign. Ron has also been the recipient of the Jere Annis Award as well as the Virgil Hawkins Award.
To be considered for this award, candidates must be nominated by past recipients. The candidate’s United Way involvement, as well as other community involvement is a major consideration. The winner must serve as a long-term volunteer for UWCF in a leadership role. Employees of United Way supported agencies are not eligible. The past five recipients of the George W. Jenkins United Way Volunteer of the Year award assume the responsibility of choosing the Volunteer of the Year.

James Horton, 2011 Board Chair, took the stage to congratulate the winners and to introduce the 2011 Loaned Executives (LEs). These 10 individuals worked for three and a half months alongside resource development staff to ensure the success of the campaign. The 2011 loaned executives were:

Tom Costello         Sponsored by Watson Clinic
Monica Dandridge     CCC Group, Inc.
Tami Cullens         The Mosaic Company
Candy Hamlin         State Farm Insurance
Joel Vogel         CF Industries
Sheila Rewis         Sponsored by Winter Haven Hospital
Amber Earnest         Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Angela Aulisio         GEICO
Nita Baxter          Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Bill Cook, Jr.         ArrMaz Custom Chemicals

Next, Jeremy Rosado returned to perform “We Are Family.” United Way President Terry Worthington followed him on stage for the presentation of the Spirit of Central Florida Award, which recognizes an organization that elevates corporate citizenship and community service as a core value of its company mission. The 2011 award was presented to Publix Super Markets, Inc. Publix raised an incredible $43,428,197 company-wide, including $3.7 million in Polk County.

Publix Associates provided 900,000 volunteer services throughout the Southeast. Publix was also recognized on a national level at the United Way Community Leaders Conference in Nashville on May 3rd. As the third largest contributor to the United Way worldwide, the awards were more than deserved. Kelly Williams-Puccio and Todd Jones accepted the award on behalf of Publix.

Finally, Terry Worthington returned to the stage to close the program with a special thanks to all those in attendance.

Event sponsors included: Publix Super Markets, Inc., Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc., The Mosaic Company, Bank of Central Florida, CF Industries, Inc., Citizens Bank & Trust, Digitech Graphics Group, F&B Associates, Inc., Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D., Lakeland Electric, Ledger Media Group, Polk State College, ITW/QMI, State Farm Insurance, Watson Clinic, LLP, and Winter Haven Hospital.

0 item(s)$0.00

Event Calendar

May 17/18 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM Infant Massage at Family Fundamentals
May 17/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Board of Directors Meetings
Jun 13/18 08:30 AM - 10:30 AM Community Impact Cabinet, meets quarterly

Sign up for our newsletter!

Enter your email address to receive all the news from United Way of Central Florida.

©2017 United Way of Central Florida LIVEUNITED@uwcf.org 
Polk, Hardee and Highlands Counties, Florida | Phone: 863-648-1500 | PO Box 1357, Highland City, FL 33846 Physical Location
Legal Disclaimer | Privacy Policy