The United Way of North Central Florida doesn't typically host fund raising events with the exception of our annual Women's United Holiday Luncheon, which specifically supports ReadingPals. We have had this philosophy for quite some time as we don't want to compete with our partner agencies and the programs we fund. In addition to the money our partners receive from designated gifts through our workplace campaigns and our grant funding process, many of our partners raise a large portion of their budgets through major fund raising events of their own. They count on these funds! However, five years ago, we were reviewing our mid-year budget and realized we were going to have a significant shortfall. This was something we could not accept as we had already allocated $900,000 to fund partner agency programs, and we committed to do so for two years. We had always met our obligations and certainly did not plan to default now. Our CEO at the time had the idea of Hearts Unite. The vision was to share the work we do with people unfamiliar with our organization and ultimately, to inspire them to give to our Community Investment Fund.
Many may have heard of United Way, yet there are still those who don't know what United Way actually "does." That's what Hearts Unite is all about, and every year since, it has evolved and become an emotional "testimonial" event. Guests hear gripping stories from program recipients as well as from our Impact Partners about how the Community Investment Fund and the programs we support have changed their lives.
As we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we want to honor and show our love and appreciation for our long time donors who have given so much over the years. We also want to continue our tradition of sharing the work we do with those residents who are less familiar with United Way. Accordingly, we are "stepping up" this year's event in honor of our Diamond Anniversary with a luncheon February 16th at the Best Western Gateway Grand, from 11:30 to 1:00. If you wish to learn more about United Way or perhaps you have just gotten out of touch with our work, please join us! RSVP to Mary Broadfoot at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited, so don't delay!