Live United Victory Celebration

April 15, 2015

More Than $18.5 Million Raised for Heart of Florida United Way in 2014-15 Campaign


Heart of Florida United Way concluded its 2014-2015 campaign last night with fanfare at the annual LIVE UNITED Victory Celebration. Campaign Chair Tony Massey, COO and President of Massey Services, announced that the campaign exceeded last year’s total by nearly $300,000, with the final total reaching $18,502,184!

Hundreds of workplace giving campaign participants attended the celebration at the Heaven Event Center in Orlando.

“Million Dollar Champions” Lockheed Martin, Publix Super Markets, and Walt Disney World led workplace giving, instituting robust engagement campaigns that inspired their employees.

“The dedication and generosity of the organizations who participated in this year’s Campaign was overwhelming,” said Massey. “The funds raised over the past several months will allow United Way to continue funding hundreds of programs that help our neighbors in need.”

More than 400 Central Florida companies and organizations ran workplace campaigns to benefit local non-profit programs supported by United Way that provide services in HFUW’s core focus areas: health, income, education and basic needs.

Other special recognitions included:

  • The Spirit Award was given to CNLBank to recognize their powerful and motivated campaign.
  • The Exceptional Employee Campaign Manager award was given to Karen Clesen of Enterprise Rent-A-Car for her work organizing team involvement.
  • The Executive Champion award was issued to Chad Wilson of Publix Super Markets, recognizing his ability to inspire and lead by example.
  • The Chairman’s Award for exceeding volunteer, leadership and financial expectations was given to Adventist Health System.
  • The special Diamond Anniversary Award was given to Publix Super Markets for their exceptional philanthropic commitment, volunteerism and community impact.

Top campaign partners, raising more than $300,000 each, included Wells Fargo, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Tupperware Brands Corporation, AT&T, Orange County Government, City of Orlando, UPS Florida, Florida Hospital and SunTrust Bank of Central Florida.

Major Partners, each raising more than $100,000, included Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., Orlando Health, CenturyLink, Duke Energy, SeaWorld Orlando, FedEX Corporation, University of Central Florida, Siemen’s Energy, Inc., Bank of America, Adventist Health System, OUC—The Reliable One, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and CNL Financial, Inc.

Thousands of people in Central Florida have been helped by Heart of Florida United Way. Donations received through the campaign help our neighbors in need, building a sustainable future for the community. We are proud of what we have accomplished this year and look to build on this success and achieve even more for next Campaign as we continue to change lives.


Volunteer Spotlight: Shawn Bartelt, WFTV/WRDQ

February 18, 2015

2015-Newsletter-Window-Shawn-SpotlightShawn Bartelt is a busy lady. Whether she’s bouncing from sales meetings or to her teenager’s school activities, Shawn finds time to be present. She carries that same belief over to her philanthropy and community. We caught up with Shawn, United Way board member, to hear how she manages to do it all.

What inspires your volunteerism?

I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can give back. I think it’s very important. Really, I think that giving committed time is a tremendous gift. I started with mentoring at my kids’ schools with some young students from Haiti. Their mom worked a lot of hours, and they didn’t get to have a present adult as often as they needed. I spent time reading with them and got to see firsthand what a huge difference it makes. Their grades improved significantly and they were more involved in school.

There’s a gift in giving. It makes you feel so positive to be able to make a difference in someone else’s life… and also help them make a difference in their own life.the-lorax-quote

What is a quote that you live by?

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

– Dr. Seuss

You served as campaign chair for the United Way 2012-13 campaign. What did you learn from that experience?

I learned a lot, but the main thing was how impactful doing the right things at the right times are. I think one of the great things about the way United Way operates is that the results are measurable. They’re not just throwing money at something and crossing fingers for a better outcome.

It was a tremendous experience to be able to be around a bunch of people who care about the same things, are passionate about making our community a better place, and provide resources for people to grow.

How does the community benefit from the United Way mission?

I look at the United Way like a mutual fund. As a donor, you know the dollars that you’re investing are going into multiple buckets, and being scrutinized to ensure they’re creating the biggest bang. United Way is taking a hard look at the investment in community programs and is making sure that the investment is moving the needle. United Way has a broad portfolio of programs, from hunger and homelessness to education. I like to know that my dollar is going to whichever bucket where support is needed the most.

Being on the inside as a board member, what do others not know about United Way?

I don’t think people realize how efficient United Way is, especially with managing the entire 2-1-1 system. People aren’t aware of how much rigor there is involved in selecting organizations that receive funding. And, finally, the scope. United Way impacts everything from infants to seniors… access to books and mentoring… and a lot in between.

What one word would you use to describe United Way’s impact on Central Florida?

Dynamic – I think it’s dynamic because United Way moves very quickly to address community needs that arise. For as large as it is, it’s nimble and able to move resources in new and creative ways to help Central Florida.

Volunteer Spotlight: Malcolm Barnes, Duke Energy

January 15, 2015

Since he was a kid, Malcolm Barnes, now Residential Markets Operations Leader for Duke Energy, had a giving spirit … whether he knew it or not. Malcolm and his sister would walk with his grandmother through his neighborhood picking up aluminum cans. They made a game of it, as children do. What they didn’t realize until later was why they were doing this. They weren’t just spending time with their grandmother, they were also giving back. The money collected from the cans was donated to the church. This memory has inspired Malcolm through the years to be giving of time, energy and treasure.

2015-Newsletter-Windows-Malcolm-BarnesHow did you first become involved in United Way?

It all starts with my grandmother. She made a strong impression on me. It was very important to her to give back to the community in whatever way you can. She set that example for me as a kid. As I got older, I looked for ways to give back, both financially and through sweat equity. United Way was always there in our community. Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about all the work United Way does behind the scenes, which made it more of a focus for me. Now, I’m a board member and very involved in the Duke Energy campaign.

You were honored as the 2013-14 Phenomenal Executive Champion at last year’s Live United Victory Celebration. What is your philosophy when it comes to inspiring others?

To make it personal. First, you have to understand that philanthropy is a very personal choice. We aren’t there to tell people how much to give. We’re here to help them understand the level of need in our community. As leaders, we have an obligation to share that message and increase awareness.

The second piece is that you have to share personal stories. Everyone in our building either knows someone or has been helped by United Way themselves. Even our CEO shared a story of being helped by United Way, which was an eye-opener to many staff.

By sharing these stories, you wind up with testimonials from everyone – the CEO, all the way down – who have been impacted by United Way. It brings a different perspective of how far United Way reaches and allows people to make up their own minds about giving.

Which of United Way’s focus areas (Education, Income, Health or Basics Needs) hits closest to home for you?

Having a high school daughter, I think student homelessness is one of the biggest issues we face. It brought the issue much closer when my daughter told me she knows students in her class who are homeless. They’re hungry and don’t have the tools they need. High school is hard enough as it is for a young person, without having to deal with such adult issues. I think homelessness is a huge need in Central Florida, but especially among children.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest value United Way brings to our community?

United Way has the ability to get the most good out of the dollars it’s given. Instead of donors researching all the nonprofits they could potentially give to, United Way vets them for you. United Way is a giving outlet for all causes… education, financial stability, homelessness, you name it. You’re able to give to United Way and know that your dollar is going to be used by a reliable agency to impact many important causes in our community.

How do the issues United Way is addressing overlap with your perspective as a businessman?

The interconnectedness of all the causes. They have to be aligned. We call it a balance solution, but the principle goes back to the old “three legged stool” example. To be successful as a whole, we must have balance in the areas of education, income, health and basic needs. If you’re just satisfying one, the stool won’t stand. They all have to be supported.

What one word would you use to describe United Way?

“Opportunity.” United Way provides opportunities – not just for young people in schools, but all throughout our community.

‘Tis the season to give back to our community

December 17, 2013

2013-Wordpress---Holiday-AppealIn business, competition is a primary driving force.  But when it comes to addressing our region’s most pressing issues, collaboration is far more critical.  Issues like hunger and homelessness, poverty and lack of education have long been the domain of nonprofits and the public sector, with companies often relegated to writing checks on the sidelines.

Despite the generosity of many businesses, the recession made it clear that our funding model needed to change in order to meet the needs of our community.  It’s only by unifying the private sector and public sectors around a common agenda that we unlock the door for collective impact.

I am gratified to see the progress we have made in our community.  However, the needs are still great.   We still see families who continue to struggle with the basic needs of life.  Heart of Florida United Way paves the path for a brighter, stronger future in Central Florida by building strong lives, strong families and stronger communities.

United Way is pursuing holistic solutions that include: stabilizing poverty-stricken homes, decreasing homelessness and improving access to nutritious food and keeping kids healthy to reduce school absenteeism.  In Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, over 260,000 residents are living in poverty.  Our goal is to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Central Florida while addressing the immediate need for food, shelter and basic services to individual families in crisis.

So, please, don’t let this season of joy pass without helping those who are hurting.  If you have already supported the Heart of Florida United Way in your workplace campaign, thank you.  The United Way’s website,, provides the opportunity for a holiday season gift.  Your gift of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more will make as lasting difference beyond the holiday season.

You can also make a difference beyond the holiday season by giving a friend or co-worker the opportunity to attend the Women’s Leadership Luncheon on March 12th featuring Erin Gruwell, bestselling author of “The Freedom Writers Diary,” or by purchasing tickets for Chef’s Gala, Central Florida’s best fine dining and wine pairing charity event being held on May 10th.  Individual tickets, corporate packages and sponsorships are available for both of these premier community events.

Thank you for making a lasting difference beyond the holiday season.  Your Dollar Goes Far, but Stays Close to Home.

Thomas K. Sittema
CEO, CNL Financial Group
2013 Campaign Chair

Campaign Spotlight: Publix Super Markets

November 18, 2013

2013-Wordpress---Campaign-Spotlight-PublixWhen it comes to outstanding community partners, there is no doubt that Publix Super Markets, Inc. has made a positive, lasting impact in countless people’s lives. Community service is a way of life for Publix and its associates. The partnership between United Way and Publix has endured for decades and helped millions in Florida and other states.

In 1996, Publix Super Markets received United Way of America’s Spirit of America Award and the Fleur de Lis Award for Tocqueville Society (individual gifts of $10,000 or more annually) growth. In 2012, United Way Worldwide recognized Publix with two Summit awards for philanthropic engagement and community impact. The Spirit of America and the Summit Awards program is United Way’s highest national honor for corporations, recognizing United Way Global Corporate Leaders with the most comprehensive commitments to strengthening communities.

Each year (usually in September), Publix associates contribute to United Way, largely through payroll donations. In 2011, Publix raised $25.9 million for United Way. When matched with the $19.7 million from Publix Super Markets Charities, the total contribution was over $45.6 million. Publix associates also volunteered 900,000 hours, including more than 1,500 Publix associates serving on United Way and nonprofit boards. Locally, Publix donated $2.8 million to Heart of Florida United Way in 2012-2013.

We recently spoke to Sam Pero, Regional Director, Southern Jacksonville Division for Publix Super Markets, about the company’s ongoing partnership with United Way.

What aspects of United Way’s work motivated you to become involved with the organization?
United Way’s strategy is to stimulate individuals and companies to promote positive change in our community each and every day. It allows me and other Publix associates the opportunity to help others and contribute to the community.

Since then, how have you personally, and through Publix, continued to support their efforts?
I’ve been a part of the Heart of Florida United Way board of directors for a total of seven years combined. I contribute financially and as a volunteer. I also help by mobilizing over 12,000 associates to participate in the United Way campaign at our stores throughout Orange, Brevard and Seminole Counties.

Please share how Publix and its associates view the importance of community service or giving back both nationally and locally.
Supporting and serving others is paramount to our company. Our founder George Jenkins gave us a legacy of community service over 83 years ago. Serving others is ingrained in our culture. Mr. George, as he was affectionately called by his associates, believed strongly that you always get back what you give to improve the community.

How does Publix involve its associates with the United Way experience?
Each district manager does monthly volunteer projects for their stores. It’s not just a one year thing. Every store does a campaign kickoff breakfast. It’s our way of thanking our associates and getting them excited about the upcoming campaign.

What did your team do to make your United Way campaign special this year?
In previous years we’ve had campaigns with themes like the Wizard of Oz and M*A*S*H. This year we wanted to do something different. We really wanted to tie the agencies together with what they do. So we pull key people from the stores to tour the partner agencies.  They then go back to their stores and tell others about the great work being done in our community. I believe that everyone would give if they knew where the money was going. That’s why we’re not afraid to pull all the store managers and send them out to the agencies.

What is the most important thing people should know about Publix and its relationship with Heart of Florida United Way?
I think they should know that we’re community partners. We’re aligned in our efforts to focus on prevention and finding long-term solutions for pressing problems in this community.

Heart of Florida United Way Names 2013 Campaign Cabinet

October 17, 2013

Heart of Florida United Way recently announced the business leaders who make up the 2013 Campaign Cabinet.

The United Way’s annual campaign kicked off on Sept. 17 with a fundraising goal of $18 million to support 70 programs at 50 partner agencies throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

Thomas K. Sittema, Chief Executive Officer of CNL Financial Group, will lead the team as 2013 Campaign Chair. Tony Massey of Massey Services will serve as Campaign Vice Chair in preparation for service in 2014 as overall campaign chair.

“I am blessed to have the support and leadership provided by the incoming United Way Campaign Cabinet,” said Sittema. “All of them are leaders from various business sectors who ‒ despite hectic schedules and professional demands ‒ donate their time and talent to the campaign.”

Many companies across Central Florida are stepping up to the goal challenge and experiencing early campaign victories.

Examples of companies who have seen increases in their 2013-14 United Way campaign over the previous year include:

  • CNL Financial Group has increased their combined employee and corporate total and expects to see a double-digit increase over last year’s donations. Five company executives have also reached the Alexis de Tocqueville donor level ($10,000 or more) for the first time.
  • Target employees in the tri-county area have generously increased their donations in an effort to surpass the $100,000 mark.
  • Publix Super Markets and its associates are reporting support of nearly $3 million, a significant increase over last year.

“Things are looking really positive so far this year,” said Robert (Bob) Haight, Senior Vice President of Resource Development for Heart of Florida United Way. “These companies and their associates continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to United Way, and we recognize and appreciate the extra effort they have shown this year. Our campaign cabinet is dedicated to letting all the businesses know about the great results United Way and our partners are having in improving lives and changing community conditions.”

Other volunteers serving on the campaign cabinet are:

  • Immediate past Chair Shawn Bartelt, WFTV-Channel 9 and WRDQ Central Florida’s TV 27
  • Women’s Leadership Council Chair Karen Dee, Fifth Third Bank
  • Women’s Leadership Council Vice Chair Pat Engfer, Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
  • Women’s Leadership Council Chair Emeriti Helen Donegan, University of Central Florida
  • Board Chair John P. Moskos, Bank of America, Central Florida
  • Malcolm Barnes, Duke Energy
  • Cindy Cassidy, Right Management
  • David Fuller, SunTrust Bank, Central Florida
  • Randy Garfield, Worldwide Sales & Travel Operations, Disney Destinations
  • Sandy Hostetter, CNLBank
  • Marie Martinez, The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families
  • Troy McNichols, AT&T
  • Robert Newland, Career Partners International
  • John Pisan, Wells Fargo Private Bank
  • Terry Prather, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
  • Reagan Rick, Fifth Third Bank, Central Florida & North Florida Affiliate
  • Joseph A. Sarnovsky, Seminole State College of Florida
  • Jeffrey Shafer, CNL Securities Corporation

The annual campaign raises funds to support 70 programs at 50 United Way funded partners, strategic community initiatives and direct services such as United Way’s 2-1-1 information & referral help line and United Way’s Volunteer Center.

Last year, the campaign raised $17.5 million. Funds from workplace giving and other avenues are strategically allocated to results-driven partner agencies to support programs impacting one or more of HFUW’s focus areas – education, income, health, and alleviating hunger and homelessness.

Taste the Best of Italy to Benefit United Way during October!

October 10, 2013


(Rocco Potami, Chef/Owner of Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar, and Robert H. (Bob) Brown, president and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way have partnered for a fundraiser as part of Rocco’s 7th anniversary celebration.)

Guests who visit Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar in Winter Park during October will be helping raise money for charity, as the restaurant will be donating 7% of all sales throughout the entire month.  The money is being donated on behalf the Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW), Central Florida’s most comprehensive health and human services agency.  This month-long philanthropic endeavor comes as part of Rocco’s 7th anniversary celebration.

“We feel very fortunate to have been a successful restaurant in Winter Park for the past seven years and wanted to do something to not only celebrate our anniversary, but to also provide some assistance for our community,” said Chef/Owner, Rocco Potami.  “I really admire all that Heart of Florida United Way does for its partner agencies in the community and we are humbled to be part of this effort.”

Heart of Florida United Way recently awarded $6,146,046 to nonprofit partner agencies in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties; with 25% of the funds targeted to alleviate hunger and homelessness.  Something that made partnering with Rocco’s as part of its 7th anniversary celebration, feel like a natural fit.

“Hunger is one of the key areas where we focus our efforts so we are delighted to be working with Rocco’s as part of this fundraising effort,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, president and CEO of HFUW.

A variety of new dishes were added in honor of the 7th anniversary celebration including a half-dozen new pastas plus chicken and veal entrees, many in the $15 to $17 range.  Examples are Penne al Buon Gustaio (penne tossed with Italian sausage, red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes  for $15.25) and Petto di Pollo Alla Caprese (pan-seared chicken breast, topped with fresh tomatoes and smoked mozzarella in a white wine and demi-glace sauce  for $17.25).

Guests dining during the month of October do not need to do anything extra in order to benefit HFUW, as the 7% will be donated from the restaurant’s top-line sales (calculated before sales tax). For directions and reservations, contact Rocco’s at (407) 644-7770 or visit

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