Kick Off 2014 attendees have a new perspective after Heart of Florida United Way introduced some unexpected elements to its 75th anniversary campaign kick-off. Inspired by the Wizard of Oz, which is also celebrating 75 years, United Way drew parallels between its mission and the Wizard of Oz’s main characters, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Scenes from the movie were coupled with live actors to help drive home the messages of courage, giving, education and stable families.
While the characters were highly entertaining, the audience found itself riveted by a live, on-stage interview between United Way board chairman John Moskos and guest Ron Perez. Perez, a former high-level executive from the software industry, turned to the Christian Help Center’s Central Florida Job Initiative program for help with protracted underemployment. He said the United Way funded program has helped him immensely with updating his job hunting skills because, as a former executive, he was accustomed to being recruited by headhunters and other companies and had little experience with actually looking for jobs. His current situation has left him and his family in financial distress, which proved to be a real eye-opener for Kick Off’s executive level audience.
This year’s presentation also included a video illustrating how United Way impacts the tri-county area around the clock. It not only showed how United Way helps people on an individual basis, such as when someone calls 211, it also provided an in-depth look at three United Way funded programs and their broader benefits to the community.
Of course, no Kick Off would be complete without the traditional Red Coat ceremony, which saw Massey Services president and COO Tony Massey inducted as campaign chair. With that, the 2014-15 goal of $18.8 million dollars was announced. It was a very successful event and provides great anticipation for a successful campaign.