Speaking at United Way’s 2011-12 Campaign Kick Off, Campaign Chair David Fuller told a group of more than 300 local business and civic leaders that they have a unique opportunity to come together and make a difference this year.
“As a community, I know we have the resources to ensure that neighbors who need help will know that they are not alone,” said Fuller, who is President/CEO of SunTrust, Central Florida Division. “That’s because we are here – through United Way ‒ to offer assistance and hope.”
Fuller also spoke about visiting Edgewood Children’s Ranch, The Salvation Army, the Boys & Girls Club and the Howard Phillips Center for Women & Children, where he met people helped through United Way funded programs. “Their stories are heart-warming and heart-wrenching,” he said. “And their courage reinforces how important it is for our campaign to succeed.”
Perfect Storm: Growing Need & Funding Cuts
“Growing need, coupled with drastic cuts to state and federal funding, have created a perfect storm that will make it even more difficult for people to find critical help in the year ahead,” said United Way President/CEO Robert H. (Bob) Brown.
Citing record-breaking call volume at 2-1-1, United Way’s 24-hour information, referral and crisis helpline, Brown said more than 171,400 people sought assistance last year. Seventy-five percent were first-time callers who never needed help before, and utilities and housing ‒ basic human needs ‒ accounted for more than half of all calls. “Our campaign effort this year has never been more important and we have the statistics to prove it,” he said.
Keynote speaker Lars Houmann, President & CEO of Florida Hospital and the Florida Division of AHS, said the true challenge facing the community is how it will respond to the crisis. “No great society ever existed for more than a brief time if it did not serve the needs of others. Central Florida cannot and will not suffer from this fate ‒ we are a generous community and you are the core of it,” he told the group.
“The work of our Heart of Florida United Way to support and stabilize the social service sector of our community, which provides essential services, is key to our quality of life and the economic recovery of Orlando and Central Florida,” Dyer said. “The importance of United Way in our community cannot be understated.”
Another highlight of the event was a video featuring moving stories shared by local residents who were on the brink of losing everything, but were helped through United Way and its partner agencies. The event also featured a children’s book drive, which will benefit schools United Way is partnering with to improve educational achievement.
The goal for this year’s campaign is $17,750,000. Dollars raised through the 2010-11 campaign provided funding for 108 local programs, which served more than 345,800 tri-county residents in need.
To support the campaign, click here. If your company would like to schedule a workplace campaign, please contact Robert Haight, United Way Senior Vice President of Resource Development, at (407) 835-0918, or e-mail Robert.Haight@hfuw.org.