United Way: ‘Hope is more contagious than COVID’


Some called us crazy.

Committing to raise almost $11 mil-lion during one of the scariest, most un-certain eras of our lifetime sounded im-possibly foolish.

But our neighbors, our families and our co-workers are suffering, and things could get worse. There was no choice; we agreed to co-chair the annual cam-paign for United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee and pledged to raise $10.8 million.

Our community’s current human services needs are immeasurable, but we know the compassion of Southwest Floridians is, too. We started our work with high hopes.

We were nervous and excited before the official United Way campaign kick-off, held virtually on Oct. 27. By the end of the event, we were overwhelmed with gratitude. Our Pacesetters, the 172 companies and organizations that comitted to run pre-kickoffffcampaigns, along with hundreds of others who made early gifts and pledges, put us more than halfway to our campaign goal. We are so grateful to all who donat-ed a total of $5.85 million to sustain our community.

Our United Way Board Chair, Bob Shearman of Henderson Franklin, said “Hope is more contagious than COVID.” We couldn’t agree more.

The tremendous generosity of our community means HOPE. The volunteer efforts of our board and campaign team mean HOPE. The tireless work of our network of 96 United Way agencies and more than 260 programs mean HOPE. And our continuous partner-ships and collaborations to meet the changing needs of our residents mean HOPE.

Reaching our $10.8 million goal and providing HOPE is more vital now than any other year. HOPE means putting food on tables, keeping roofs over heads and finding connections for mental health counseling. HOPE means ensuring that services for families, veterans, seniors and children continue to be delivered.

We invite you to Live United and nourish that HOPE. We are only 54 per-cent of the way to raising desperately needed funds. Please contribute to strengthen our community, help families make it through these hard times and preserve our workforce for better days ahead. Join us and thousands of others as we Rise to the Challenge.

Karen Ryan, LCEC and Bob Beville Waterman Broadcasting NBC2/ABC7 are the 2020-2021 Campaign Co-Charis.

How to contribute
You can make your contribution to-day by visiting www.UnitedWayLee.org or calling 239-433-7201. Your contribution will change lives and help our commu-nity heal.

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