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6031 NW 1st Place Gainesville, FL 32607-2025 (352) 331-2800

Get Your Gator On! at United Way’s United Downtown

If you haven’t yet heard of United Way’s United Downtown, you’re in for a real Gator treat! United Downtown gives Gator football fans an excuse to kick off the football celebration early! In its third year, United Downtown promises to bring the best in local sports, culture, art and music each Friday night to downtown Gainesville. This free, family-friendly event is sure to get the crowd Gator chompin’ with music by Grooveshark, a beer garden brought to you by Swamp Head Brewery, an O2BKids! play area, autograph signings by former Gator football greats, UF Dazzlers, Albert and Alberta, and much more!

Come on down to United Way’s United Downtown for a brand new spin on this popular event series. YOUR UNITED WAY TEAM

Matt Fajack, Board Chair University of Florida Carolyn Lukert, Past Chair Center for Dementia Education Kay Ayers, Vice Chair AvMed Kenneth Kurdziel, Finance Chair James Moore & Company Melanie Ross, Communications Chair UF Health Dennis Gies, Member-At-Large Community Volunteer Ed Bonahue, Member-At-Large Santa Fe College Robert Hunzinger, Member-At-Large Gainesville Regional Utilities


Adrian Taylor, Public Policy Springhill Missionary Baptist Church Jenna White, Comm. Impact Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Bill Gair, Campaign University of Florida Nick Banks, Development Front Street Realty


Harbin Bolton Cox Communications Rob Chapman Publix Sam Goforth Wells Fargo Josh Greenberg Grooveshark Tony Jones Gainesville Police Department Shaney Livingston Alachua County Library District Hershel Lyons Alachua County Public Schools Ken McGurn McGurn Investments Ed Poppell UF Development Corporation Andy Sherrard O2B Kids! Dr. Patricia Snyder University of Florida Lynda Tealer University Athletic Association, Inc. Quenta Vettel, APR University of Florida Brad White SunTrust, N.A,


Debbie Mason President & CEO Rhonda Johnson Director of Operations Mary Broadfoot Administrative Assistant


Karen Slevin VP, Community Impact Jennifer Stojkovic 2-1-1/Health & Income Impact Manager Ashley Williams ReadingPals Coordinator Barbara Brady Check & Connect Specialist Annetta McCloud Check & Connect Specialist Patrick Wright Check & Connect Specialist


Dana Clayton VP, Resource Development Bob Guerriere Director, Resource Development Sylvia Waldman Database Manager J.D. Comstock Campaign Manager Chris Gladin Campaign Manager Karah Hensel Publix Loaned Executive Amy Stickel Development Asoc./Affinity Groups Jordan Utsman Campaign Manager

COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING Kim Faenza Director, Marketing and Communications Sarah Coulson Communications Specialist

August 30: Gator run-n-fun

Kick off Gator football season with a 5K run with the Florida Track Club and celebrate the Gators with former Gator greats and Albert and Alberta at United Downtown!

Sept. 20: Show your love for GNV!

Celebrate everything Gainesville at United Downtown. Get your picture taken with Albert and Alberta, then enjoy a beer in the United Downtown beer garden, crafted exclusively by Gainesville’s own Swamp Head Brewery! Enjoy an evening of Gainesville fun, only at United Downtown.

Oct. 4: Paint downtown orange & blue!

Let your imagination loose as Gator fans paint downtown Orange & Blue! Celebrate Gainesville’s rich creative history with interactive art activities and artist meet-n-greets.

Come Get Your Gator On! at 2013 United Downtown this fall! United Downtown is brought to you by United Way of North Central Florida. For more information about United Way of North Central Florida and about United Way’s United Downtown, please visit: or call 352-331-2800.

Nov. 22: Gators ride, rock & roll!

Rev up your engines and turn up the tunes as Gator fans welcome classic cars, roaring Harleys and rockin’ music to downtown Gainesville!

Location & time of events: Corner of SE 1st St. and SE 1st Ave. Friday nights, 6-10 p.m.





On May 9, thought leaders throughout Alachua County met to discuss that state of education in our community. The focus was on the importance of early learning to grade school success as well as the transition from grade school to the work force for students not bound for college. The open forum included a panel presentation, followed by break-out sessions to prioritize key strategies to support each of the topic areas in education.


Panelists included: Sandra Hollinger, Retired Deputy Superintendent, Alachua County Public Schools

Aug. 29 6 p.m. Student United Way – Fall Membership Meeting

Event details: UF students are invited to join Student United Way to improve our community by giving, advocating and volunteering in the areas of education, income and health. Location: University of Florida, Little Hall Rm. 203, Gainesville, FL 32605

Kim Tesch-Vaught, Executive Director, FloridaWorks Gordon Tremaine, Executive Director, Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County Keith Blanchard, Chief Professional Officer, Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County – moderator


One of the goals of Thrive Alachua! is to create a strategic plan that includes a community report card to measure education, income and health in Alachua County. The first version of the plan is complete and the first community report card is set for fall introduction.


Volunteer to read to a child once a week over the school year and have an opportunity to help increase a child’s reading comprehension. By giving just one hour a week, you can change the outcome in a child’s life. This evidence-based initiative places Drop-Out Prevention Specialists in high schools with the greatest population of youth at risk of dropping out. Volunteer as a mentor to provide time and guidance to a 9th grader served by this program.

To learn more about these and other volunteer opportunities, please call 352-331-2800, or visit volunteerselect.


“Thrive Alachua! convenes leaders from all sectors of our community, including government, nonprofit, education and business who have their own work plans around education, income and health and encourages them to work together to come up with collaborative solutions,” said Debbie Mason, United Way of North Central Florida president and CEO. “The Thrive Alachua! education symposium successfully brought together both community leaders and the general public to collaborate on the importance of education to the success of our community residents.”

Sept. 9 5:30-7 p.m.: Young Leaders Society Leadership Chat with Patti Breedlove, University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator associate director Event details: Chat with Patti Breedlove as she explains how to grow the World’s leading biotech companies in our community. Location: United Way of North Central Florida, Conference Room, 6031 NW 1st Place, Gainesville, FL 32607

Dedicated participants in the UF Health Shands Hospital United Way campaign include their nurses. Last year, the increase in their donation and participation rates showcased the generosity of their UF Health Shands Hospital nursing staff. The nursing department is well known for community support through participation in numerous health fairs and health education events each year. Additionally, they volunteer for disaster-relief efforts, providing assessments and skills beyond U.S. borders in places like Haiti, Guatemala, Rwanda, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. In May 2013, as part of National Nurses Week, the department teamed up with the United Way of North Central Florida Early Literacy Initiative by participating in the Book Nook Project. Several nursing units collected children’s books and decorated bookcases as part of the effort. “Adding a personal touch to a bookcase gives me a sense of connection with the community,” said Charissa Hickey, monitor support technician, Unit 94 – Intermediate Care, UF Health Shands Hospital Nursing. “My hope is that a child will find his or her new favorite book among the selections, leading to a life-long love of reading and learning.” Since 2009, the UF Health Shands Hospital Nursing staff has participated in community projects during National Nurses Week.

To the UF Health Shands Hospital Nursing staff – United Way of North Central Florida thanks you for your service to the community.


United Way’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) experienced its Exclusive! Backstage Pass to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium tour Wednesday, June 12. Guests traveled through the sky box tower before heading over to the Heavener Football Complex Lobby to view trophies and learn about the average day in the life of a University of Florida football player. The tour featured interactive content and concluded with a short highlight video in the Gator Room.


Cat Ferris, YLS co-chair, took advantage of the opportunity to recruit new YLS members and share information about what YLS means to participants. She said the main goal of YLS is to engage donors, help them to understand what it is that United Way does and give them an opportunity to get involved. YLS also provides opportunities for networking, volunteering and professional development.

we look back on last year’s community impact. THE STORY IN NUMBERS READINGPALS INITIATIVE:

Served 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders at Lake Forest, Idylwild, Terwilliger, and Caring and Sharing Elementary Schools, as well as the Northwest, and Woodland Park Boys and Girls Clubs.

• ReadingPals Volunteers = 170 • ReadingPals students served = 169 • More than 3,000 volunteer hours, which can be calculated to be worth at least $66,240 (according to $22.14/hr volunteer time in • Three of the four schools increased FCAT reading scores after one year


The bookshelves are stocked with gently-used books that are free for families to take.

• 43 book nooks have been placed in the community with the help of groups like Shands; Exactech, Inc.; Gainesville Rotary; Nationwide Insurance; Junior League of Gainesville; Golder Associates; Carr, Riggs & Ingram; Bosshardt Realty Services; University of Florida and Women’s Leadership Council!


• Collected 6,587 books for distribution to the community • Collected 13,140 items of food for distribution in the community


• 21 volunteers (Thanks to Exactech; United Way of North Central Florida’s Women’s Leadership Council; Bosshardt Realty Services; Golder Associates; Junior League of Gainesville; Rotary Club of Gainesville; Gainesville Women’s Club; Nationwide and Carr Riggs & Ingram!) Special Thanks to Our Academy Sponsors

• 14 Book Nooks assembled and painted • 383 books donated • $255 donated for purchase of additional Book Nooks and books

VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE (VITA) PROGRAM: • 1,719 filed tax returns, 38% increase from 2012! • 234 filed tax returns, making United Way of North Central Florida one of the top 25 myfreetaxes URLs in the country ( • Total EITC = $504,505 (this excludes the 234 myfreetaxes returns; this information has not yet been received) • Total refunds = $1,479,194

SCHOOL-BASED DENTAL SEALANT INITIATIVE: served 13 schools in Alachua County

• 541 children treated, 117% increase from 2012 • 1,561 sealants placed, 95% increase from 2012

Tocqueville Society Member, Paul McKnight


Paul McKnight is a Tocqueville Society member and has been a strong advocate for United Way of North Central Florida for more than 30 years. United Way’s Tocqueville Society honors leaders locally and nationally who exemplify community leadership through their high level of personal giving to United Way. The society is one of the World’s most prestigious institutions for individuals who are passionate about improving peoples’ lives and strengthening communities.


McKnight supports United Way because United Way supports agency programs that make a difference. He believes United Way does a good job of educating people about the needs of others and creates an opportunity for people to give in an easy and dignified way.

• Served more than 500 children and 125 families in the Weekend Hunger Backpack Program • Organized book and food drives throughout the year

“At Hospital Corporation of America, we have the means, so we need to give back to the community,” McKnight said.

supporting the Weekend Hunger Backpack Program operated by Catholic Charities, and our ReadingPals and School-based Dental Sealant Initiatives


He knows so many people have benefited from his contributions to United Way, and he encourages others to learn about the Tocqueville Society and take advantage of the opportunity to help others.

• Worked with 80 at-risk 9th grade students • Decrease in referrals for behavioral issues • Increase in attendance and grades in the majority of the students

McKnight appreciates that United Way has evolved into more than a funder in the last few years.

served at-risk 9th graders in three Alachua County high schools: Gainesville, Eastside and Hawthorne.

Ferris believes once people understand how the dollars are distributed, they become more passionate about the programs and want to get involved in making the community stronger. The YLS mission is to engage and inspire young professionals who donate to the United Way. YLS members will learn about United Way, build professional and leadership skills, interact with executive-level United Way donors, volunteer for community projects and learn the importance of leadership giving.

Interested in joining YLS? Please contact Amy Stickel at, or call 352-331-2800.

“United Way is promoting volunteer work and other ways to change lives,” he said. “It’s not just fundraising.”

Thank you Paul for all that you do for United Way of North Central Florida and our community.

“Once I saw how each little dollar makes a difference, then I became really passionate, and that’s when I became a strong advocate for United Way.”– Cat Ferris


We are pleased to welcome three new board members to United Way of North Central Florida’s Board of Directors! United Way welcomes Nick Banks, our Development Committee Chair and Front Street Commercial Realty Group managing director. Get to know Nick: Why do you love working at Front Street? Owning a commercial real estate brokerage company allows me to be on the front end of many exciting projects and events that impact our community. We are involved with Innovation Square, Progress Corporate Park and several large retail projects that allow us to be a part of bringing exciting new companies, retailers, and restaurants to our community. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself. My hobbies are mountain biking and playing guitar. Tell me what motivates you to get up everyday. In addition to the impact we have on the business community in Gainesville, I love having an impact in the community through our involvement in great organizations like United Way of North Central Florida. Service and community are woven into the fabric of our small team’s culture and it is very fulfilling and gratifying to contribute. I want to help make sure Front Street always sets a positive example for my children and for my Front Street team. Tell me why you are excited about joining United Way of North Central Florida’s Board of Directors. I’ve been a part of United Way in various committee roles for several years. I love the mission of United Way and how that mission is executed in a strategic and measureable way. I look forward to playing a larger role as a board member in helping to shape that strategy.

WE United Way welcomes Lynda Tealer, our new board member and University Athletic Association executive associate athletic director. Get to know Lynda:

Why do you love working at the University Athletic Association? I really enjoy working in the field of college athLynda with her two children letics, but I love working at the UAA, in particular, primarily because of the people. We have a fantastic group of coaches and staff that work really hard, have very high goals, support one another and love to have fun. My favorite part of the job is watching our teams compete. I see the effort that coaches and staff put in, I know how hard the student athletes are working...watching it all come together and seeing our teams achieve their goals is gratifying. Tell me what motivates you to get up everyday. My kids are my motivation. I love being their mom, and I hope that every day I do that job a little better. I want them to have what all parents want for their kids…to be happy, healthy, successful (in whatever way they define that), safe and challenged. I feel a real obligation to help kids in the community that may not have the same advantages my kids have. Tell me why you are excited to join the United Way of North Central Florida’s Board of Directors. The challenges in the community are great. It is easy to feel that they are so large that one person can’t possibly make a difference. I am excited to join the Board because I know that teaming with lots of folks with the same mission is how big things get done. I’m hoping that I am able to assist and do my part to help meet our community’s needs.


United Way of North Central Florida staff members and 140 of our closest workplace campaign friends gathered at the Best Western Plus Gateway Grand Hotel on March 14 to celebrate the close of the 2012 United Way campaign. The workplace campaign is a cornerstone in our fundraising efforts - employees contribute almost 80 percent of the total donations received by United Way each year. Workplace campaigns have evolved into spirited, employee-centric events, complete with parties, contests and lots of fun. Employee Campaign Coordinators, affectionately known as ECCs, invest their time attending training, planning events and collecting pledge cards to help make the annual campaign a success. They also strive to raise more money, have more fun and engage more employees than the year prior. Workplace campaigns typically run in the fall each year and can last a few days or up to a few weeks, depending on the workplace. United Way of North Central Florida provides a staff member to offer assistance, support and be a personal cheerleader for the fundraising team. A campaign can be focused on raising money through events and collections, soliciting donations through payroll deductions, collecting material goods through drives and/or organizing volunteer groups for community service projects. Once the fundraising efforts wrap up and pledges have been made for the coming year, ECCs keep their teams engaged all year by continuing volunteer engagement and driving collections.


We are getting excited and gearing up for our 2013-2014 Workplace Campaign: The Power of One! For easy-to-use campaign tools, visit

For the 2012 campaign, 140 companies and businesses ran workplace campaigns. More than $2 million was raised through workplace campaign efforts in 2012. We celebrated every achievement at the 2012 Campaign Finale last spring: best overall campaign, community builder award, best new workplace campaign, most creative campaign, best ever campaigns, top 10 campaigns, top 5 campaigns and community support award. As we closed the fiscal year on June 30, the estimated total revenue when workplace giving is combined with UF’s campaign, the state employee’s campaign and residential donations was $3,368,000 million. Thank YOU for another successful campaign year. If your company is interested in running a United Way workplace campaign, please contact Dana Clayton or call 352-333-0846.

United Way welcomes Shaney Livingston, our new board member from Alachua County Library District. Get to know Shaney: Why do you love working at the Alachua County Library District? I love working at the Alachua County Library District because this organization makes a difference in individuals lives on a daily basis. The library is community focused and all about lifelong learning. It is a wonderful resource for people of all ages. It is a great feeling to be part of an organization that is truly making an impact and benefiting so many people. We get to hear so many wonderful stories from our patrons about how the library helps or changed their life in some way. It’s rewarding to work for an organization that continues to find ways to assist citizens to make their life better and more enjoyable.

Tell me what motivates you to get up everyday. What motivates me to get up every day is the opportunity to be a blessing to someone and make a difference in the world. It’s uplifting to me to be a positive influence or support in another person’s life. Tell me why you are excited to join the United Way of North Central Florida’s Board of Directors. I joined the United Way Board because I believe in what United Way does and this is an opportunity to be involved and give back to my community.

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself. I have a great sense of humor.

A big United Way welcome to Nick, Lynda and Shaney!

Team Shands celebrates a great year

ers greet donors

United Way staff memb

August 2013  
August 2013