2017-08-10 / Top News

United Way goal hits $10 million — a natural progression

The first United Way fundraising campaign in Lee County, in 1957, raised $66,000.

The campaign last year raised $9,702,156.

For 24 straight years, the organization has met its goal.

And the new goal has hit $10 million.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee announced its 2017-2018 campaign goal of $10 million on Aug. 1.

Beth Hendry and John Clinger were named campaign chairs. This is the first United Way Campaign with a goal of $10 million. The campaign chairs launched the campaign with the theme of “The Power of 10!”

Cliff Smith, president of the agency, said the organization hit the $10 million during its normal allocation process. Before each campaign, volunteers meet with agencies served by United Way, and review the programs and request for funds. After adding up programs at more than 90 agencies, and adding 9 percent for administration, the goal topped out at $10 million and some dollars, Mr. Smith said.

New United Way campaign chairs are John Clinger and Beth Hendry. 
COURTESY PHOTO New United Way campaign chairs are John Clinger and Beth Hendry. COURTESY PHOTO “We live in a special community, with people and with companies who believe in giving back,” Mr. Smith said of the increased giving.

Chico’s FAS Inc. kicked off the new campaign by making the first contribution immediately following the United Way Allocations Wrap-Up event.

“We had a record number of Chico’s FAS Associates participate in allocations this year,” said Jessica Wells, vice president of public relations and corporate communications for Chico’s.

Ms. Hendry is a member of the United Way board of directors and is senior vice president of IBERIABANK’s commercial group in Fort Myers. She has been in the banking industry in the area since 1992, including work with the Fort Myersbased Florida Gulf Bank, which was acquired by IBERIABANK. Ms. Hendry has been a Fort Myers resident for 26 years.

She has been active with United Way for many years, including 13 years participating in United Way’s allocations teams.

John Clinger is the immediate past chairman of the United Way board of directors, a current board member and was the 2013-2014 United Way campaign chair.

He is senior vice president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and senior financial advisor of Clinger, Sizemore and Associates.

“The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee has a strong history of successful campaigns and continuing to support the growing needs of the people of our community,” said Ms. Hendry. “This campaign will be the largest ever, exceeding $10 million. A campaign supporting 93 agencies and over 250 programs right here, now that is the power of 10! I am excited to be a part of this paramount campaign, and hope that the community will embrace the challenge and support the needs of our community.”

Said Mr. Clinger, “Being asked to chair the United Way campaign a second time is an honor and a challenge. It is a huge responsibility to raise over $10 million for our United Way, and I will pursue the goal with passion and enthusiasm. When people ask me why I support our United Way, I answer that it is one of the best ways to give back to the community I love.

“Both Beth Hendry and I have been intensely involved with United Way because of the allocations process,” Mr. Clinger said. “Allocations teams have shown me nearly all of the United Way partner agencies. I have seen these agencies in action helping children, veterans, seniors and families who are struggling. United Way and its 93 partner agencies work tirelessly to meet the real human needs of our community.”

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee has raised and distributed over $157 million since it was established in 1957.

All money stays in the local community to help support the local human service network.

For more information, call 433-2000 or see www.UnitedWayLee.org. ¦

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