This is a year to celebrate! Not only because we live in such a great community (we do), but because this is a community of givers! In 60 years, the North Central Florida region has raised nearly $100 million dollars to help friends, neighbors and complete strangers in need. People just like you - ordinary, extraordinary everyday people - have opened their hearts and hands over the decades to lift others out of hopelessness and into a world of new possibilities.
In 1957, Cecil B. Webster joined forces with a small, dedicated group of people to raise $75,000. They exceeded their goal by nearly $10,000 and through the years, both the mission and goals of United Way have expanded to serve and help more people. To honor our enduring commitment on our 60th anniversary this year, we are hosting a series of community impact bus tours. The United Way Express, brought to you by Candies Coachwork Inc., will take current and prospective donors to see where the money they give goes first-hand. Each tour will visit several local non-profits that receive United Way funding to help improve the health, education and financial stability of people in our community. These up-close and personal tours are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Click here for more information.
Next month, we will hold a special edition "Hearts Unite" in honor of our Diamond 60th anniversary, and appeal to our supporters to give just $5 more a month to the Community Investment Fund. This $60 unrestricted gift will allow us to increase the local pot of money available to local partner agencies. As you already know, your local United Way allows you to give through payroll deduction and support any cause in the state of Florida, but the only money that stays local and helps people living here in Alachua County and the surrounding five counties we serve is money designated to the Community Investment Fund. We have a goal to raise nearly half a million dollars in two years. Your anniversary gift can help us get there!
If you are looking for ways this year to give your time, consider joining the ranks of our Women United or Emerging Leaders United affinity groups. These leadership donors do more than write a check; they donate their time to early childhood literacy, and support local initiatives. They also make new friends, expand their professional circles and get back more than they ever anticipated they would.
Finally, in 2017, you will hear more from your friends and neighbors who have Lived United for many years. Their stories about why they give, and who they help will ignite you to believe that a small, dedicated group of people - even just one - is all it takes to change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.