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United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee campaign under way

By Staff | Oct 29, 2019

Over 800 people celebrated the kick off of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee’s 2019-2020 Campaign at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Tuesday. The enthusiastic crowd cheered the announcement of the winner of a 2-year lease on a Scanlon Acura, and the total of $6,523,389 raised toward the $10,783,563 goal.

Beth Hendry, United Way Board chair, welcomed the large crowd.

“On behalf of the United Way Board of Directors it is with great pleasure that we welcome all of you to the 63rd annual United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee campaign kick-off. We thank everyone for coming out this morning and helping to get this year’s campaign off to such a great start. It’s wonderful to see such a large turnout. It looks like we have over 800 people here this morning affirming how we all Live United. By your attendance it is easy to see that we have all come together to make sure that United Way and the United Way network of partner agencies continues to be there for our community, providing critical services to those in need.

“Over the past 63 years our United Way has raised and distributed over $177 million and has helped our community’s social service network change the lives of countless numbers of people in our community,” Hendry concluded.

Children from Child Care of Southwest Florida let the Pledge of Allegiance. Caira Everly of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and ReUnite Program sang “God Bless America” and Maj. Carlyle Gargis of The Salvation Army gave the invocation.

Rachel Pierce and Clay Miller, NBC-2 morning anchors, wee the masters of ceremony.

United Way Campaign Chair Roger Desjarlais, Lee County manager, talked about the campaign and the campaign theme: One Way, United Way.

“Our community’s issues are too large and complex for any one individual or organization to solve alone. But UNITED, we can make a difference for today and for generations to come,” he said. “United Way brings local organizations together to tackle the complex roots of conditions such as hunger, school readiness, health issues, job readiness, financial stability, domestic violence, veteran’s needs, and the challenges seniors face. These are the issues that have the greatest impact on our community’s social well-being and economic health.

“Working together for one goal, we can make a huge difference! That’s why we say: ‘One Way, United Way’. Every contribution to the campaign whether large or small has the power to make a difference in the lives of our residents. To make our ambitious goal of over $10.78 million we must pull together to make that a reality.”

United Way Pacesetter Chair Bob Beville of Waterman Broadcasting announced the Pacesetter results. Pacesetter Companies those who run their campaigns early to demonstrate United Way support and to encourage others along with early leadership gifts, have already raised a total of $6,523,389. This represents 60% of the goal, the highest dollar amount ever reported at Kick Off.

The top 12 Pacesetter companies include the following: 1. Publix Super Markets 2019 – $1,732,096; 2. Bonita Bay Group – $552,352; 3. FineMark National Bank & Trust – $240,000; 4. ENTERPRISE Rent-A-Car – $210,453; 5. Chico’s FAS – $200,000; 6. Lee Health – $198,145; 7. LCEC – $190,001; 8. Lee County School District – $134,165; 9. Lee Board of County Commissioners – $125,500; 10. Zachry Group – $123,955; 11. McGriff Insurance Services – $113,601; and 12. Gunterberg Charitable Foundation – $100,000.

All money raised in the United Way Campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network of partner agencies. United Way Partner Agencies such as Harry Chapin Food Bank, Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Children’s Advocacy Center, Literacy Council Gulf Coast, and Boys and Girls Clubs serve a diverse range of needs in our community.

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies, helping them to work together focusing on issues that continue to improve lives.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee was established in 1957 and over $177 million has been raised and distributed since that time. For more information please call (239) 433-2000 or visit www.UnitedWayLee.org.