United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) hosted its Annual Meeting on May 30th at the Polk Theatre. The organization honored a number of individuals and organizations who helped make 2011 a successful year. The evening featured performances by American Idol Season 11 Finalist Jeremy Rosado and Girls Inc. of Lakeland's Order My Step Dance Ministry.
(Pictured: Todd Jones (left) and Kelly Williams-Puccio of Publix Super Markets receive the Spirit of Central Florida award from Terry Worthington, president of United Way of Central Florida, during the 2012 UWCFAnnual Meeting. See more event photos on Facebook.)
2011 Campaign Chair Cindy Alexander told the 300 people in attendance that UWCF addresses the local challenges related to education, income and health in a way no other single organization can. United Way brings together government, business, and non-profit groups to agree on a community goal and work in partnership to achieve it.
Alexander celebrated raising $8.76 million to increase our area’s school readiness rate,
help families increase their financial stability and improve people's health. In addition to
the importance of raising money to make change, Polk County School Superintendent Sheri
Nickell issued a challenge to recruit 175 new volunteer readers to share their time and
Currently, almost 40% of children start school without the skills to be successful. UWCF's Women's Leadership Council is changing that by launching an 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. For more information and to volunteer, visit www.uwcf.org/noblehour.
Alexander handed the 2012 fund raising responsibilities to Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College. Holden issued her own challenge to the community: “Invest Today. Impact Tomorrow.”
"Raising money is not an end unto itself," said Holden. "Changing lives is what it is all about."
Rich Shapiro, 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.
John Fitzwater, 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
United Way President Terry Worthington presented Publix Super Markets, Inc., with the 2011 Spirit of Central Florida Award, which recognizes an organization that elevates corporate citizenship and community service as a core value of its company mission. Publix raised an incredible $43.4 million 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.
Four other 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. 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.
SunTrust Bank accepted the award for Medium Business Campaign of the Year. 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.
Watson Clinic was presented with the Summit award for Large Business Campaign of the Year. 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.
The Best New Campaign Award 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.
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.
Mar 12/18 - Apr 12/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Build United- Register a Team Today!
Apr 03/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Tocqueville Tuesdays - Bonnet Springs Park
Apr 05/18 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM Story Book Adventures Pajama Party with Elephant and Piggie
Apr 19/18 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM Infant Massage at Family Fundamentals
Apr 19/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Board of Directors Meetings