Strategic Consolidation Increases Community Impact
in the Two County Region
United Way of the Florida Keys and United Way of Collier County announce that, as of April 1, 2020, the two organizations will merge to create the United Way of Collier and the Keys.
“Together, we can accomplish more, have a greater impact, and build capacity to strengthen our work for local families,” said Debbie Mathews Finch, United Way of Collier County Board Chair and Maria Jones, United Way of the Florida Keys Board Chair in a joint statement. Both leaders look forward to managing this exciting transition. “By working together, it will further our mission of improving lives of paycheck-to-paycheck ALICE residents, in both Collier and the Keys. This collaboration will move us towards achieving that goal.”
Through this unification, it will allow the organization to increase operational efficiency and streamline duplicated internal processes, ultimately resulting in more dollars available for the local community. As internal operations are consolidated, external activities and programs in the community will essentially remain the same.
United Way of the Florida Keys President/CEO Leah Stockton, who has been named Florida Keys Area President with the new organization, said United Way of Collier County and United Way of the Florida Keys both understood the benefits of such a union and sought to bring the organizations together. “Our United Ways have a history of working together on common projects and shared best practices, particularly following Hurricane Irma. This decision follows a year of productive discussions between both boards of directors.”
By becoming United Way of Collier and the Keys, the organization will now offer a seamless experience for donors in both areas and increase local engagement and volunteer opportunities. As internal operations are consolidated, external activities and programs in the community will essentially remain the same.
The vision for United Way of Collier and the Keys is to improve lives and strengthen communities so all individuals and families in Collier and the Keys can thrive. UWCK will advocate for those in our community struggling to make ends meet and empower these neighbors in need by providing them the tools needed to gain stability.
“We know that the problems facing our communities do not recognize city boundaries or county lines. Collier and Monroe County face similar challenges with a high cost of living, expensive housing, and a transient population,” said United Way of Collier County’s President/CEO, Steve Sanderson, who will remain in his position with the new organization. “Change doesn’t happen alone. This is a way for us to capitalize on leveraged resources- funds used working together will result in greater investment towards addressing these significant challenges.”
Sanderson emphasized that money raised in the community will serve the community as it always has. “We are looking forward to implementing agency-wide best practices and sharing resources while ensuring our programs, partner agency allocations and community investment work continues to make a difference at the local level.”
Implementation efforts have already begun. Leaders from Monroe County and Collier County will serve on the new United Way of Collier and the Keys board, ensuring representation from businesses and individuals from both markets. Local Advisory Boards will also be created in each county as a crucial component to identify needs and spearhead local community investment and fundraising efforts. Current staff will continue to work from existing local offices.