United Way’s Campaign Achieves Goal-Shattering $19,365,723 to Help Central Floridians in Need

United Way Campaign Chair David Fuller, left, Chairman, President and CEO, SunTrust Bank, Central Florida, presents the Chairman’s Award to Randy Garfield, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales & Travel Operations for Disney Destinations and president of Walt Disney Travel Company and United Way board member. Disney’s largest-ever HFUW campaign contribution - $5.7 million – helped the 2011-2012 campaign achieve goal-shattering success.

Gathering in the beautiful surroundings of the new Amway Center, more than 500 of Central Florida’s top business and community leaders recently helped celebrate the goal-shattering success of Heart of Florida United Way’s (HFUW) 2011-2012 campaign.

As announced during the LIVE UNITED All-Star Celebration, the campaign roared past last year’s $17.4 million total to raise $19,365,723*, representing the highest workplace giving campaign total since 2001.

United Way's Elite All Stars, representing companies that donated $300,000 or more.

Among the nearly 400 companies supporting the effort, Walt Disney World once again led the way with its incredible generosity. Consistently the campaign’s top donor, Disney outdid itself this year with its largest-ever HFUW contribution ‒ $5.7 million.

In announcing Disney’s campaign result, Randy Garfield, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales & Travel Operations for Disney Destinations and president of Walt Disney Travel Company, spoke of the company’s longtime partnership with United Way.

“As the largest employer in Central Florida, we are proud to lead the way in supporting the Heart of Florida United Way and have done so for nearly 40 years,” said Garfield, who is also a member of the HFUW Board of Directors. “Disney shares United Way’s commitment to providing help and hope to our Central Florida friends and neighbors in need and we know these contributions will make a difference in the lives of many.”

Also honored during the event were the campaign’s two other Million Dollar Community Champions: Publix Super Markets, Inc., which contributed $2.6 million; and Lockheed Martin Corporation, which raised $1.1 million.

David Fuller presents award to Tobi Allen, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Campaign Chair David Fuller, Chairman, President and CEO, SunTrust Bank Central Florida, expressed his heartfelt thanks to all who gave generously to help neighbors in need.

“We went into the 2011-2012 campaign with a feeling of optimism, yet we were mindful of the difficult fundraising environment that we were facing across Central Florida,” Fuller said. “It’s when times are tough that a community shows its character. There is much for all of us to be proud of from this campaign.”

In expressing his gratitude, Robert H. (Bob) Brown, HFUW President and CEO, also provided a poignant reminder of growing need. “As we celebrate the success of our 2011-2012 campaign, there’s an important message to remember in that tens of thousands of our neighbors still face uncertainty,” Brown said. “To put it into perspective, the 385,400 people helped last year alone by United Way and our partner agencies represent enough Central Floridians to fill the Amway Center to capacity an astonishing 17 times.”

Emcees David Steele, left, and Dante Marchitelli

Other highlights of the celebration included:

  • The Walt Disney Company, Publix Super Markets, Inc. and Lockheed Martin were honored as Million Dollar Community Champions for their incredible fundraising results.
  • The Walt Disney Company received the Chairman’s Award for achieving outstanding results by following best practices. Other nominees included Enterprise Holdings; Publix Super Markets, Inc.; and UPS, Florida District.
  • Wells Fargo; Florida Hospital; AT&T; Tupperware Brands Corporation; UPS, Florida District; Orange County Government; SunTrust Bank, Central Florida; and Darden Restaurants, Inc., were honored as Elite All Stars for raising $300,000 or more.
  • WFTV 9 and WRDQ Central Florida’s TV 27 received the LIVE UNITED Spirit Award for running an inspirational campaign. Other nominees included CNLBank, Nordstrom and Target.
  • Sam Pero, Regional Director for Publix Super Markets, Inc., was recognized as a Phenomenal Executive Champion for his outstanding efforts in leading his company’s campaign. Other nominees included Terry Prather, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; and David Ruiz, UPS, Florida District.
  • Susan Kaney and Julie Wolf from SunTrust Bank, Central Florida, received the Exceptional Employee Campaign Manager Award for going the extra mile with their company’s campaign. Other nominees included Maureen Sullivan, Macy’s; and Jane Bindas and Phil Smart, Tupperware Brands Corporation.
  • Goodwill of Central Florida and First Data Corporation were honored as Rookies of the Year for their success in running strong first-year campaigns.

A Young Marine’s Testimonial

Jennifer and Aaron Duren

A focal point of the event was a moving story shared by Aaron Duren, a 25-year-old Orlando resident and U.S. Marine Corp veteran who had difficulty coping with life after the military. Dealing with health issues and the loss of military benefits, Aaron and his wife, Jennifer, were facing eviction and homelessness before receiving help through a Veterans Administration program that HFUW is managing.

“From the start, United Way was terrific, he said.” Our case manager, Kendra, assured us everything would be okay. She got us qualified to receive rent and utility assistance, and even helped us find a better apartment,” Duren said. “It’s still not easy, but I’m back in school, Jennifer is working full-time, and we feel good about what is ahead.”

Click here to view more photos from the event. Visit HFUW’s Facebook page to share and tag photos.

* Dollars raised by the workplace campaign are the largest portion of the approximately $27 million that United Way raises, manages or distributes each year. Additional funds include federal grants such as Ryan White for HIV/AIDS, and the Emergency Assistance Fund. HFUW also solicits and administers several state and private foundation grants such as one for crisis counseling services provided by United Way 2-1-1, which is funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families.


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