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United Way’s Disaster Services blog has been launched to provide the Tampa Bay community – citizens and health and human services agencies — with a disaster planning, mitigation, and recovery resource. 

In addition to finding help with getting your family ready for a disaster, human service agencies will find help with business continuity planning as well.

You will also be kept up to date on United Way’s work with its many partners with respect to the following:

1. The development of Volunteer Reception Centers that are primed and ready to go in the case of a major disaster.

2. The development of collaborations throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties that work to mobilize human service organizations, governments, business, and volunteer organizations when a major disaster strikes.

3. Opportunities for human service agencies to participate in disaster training workshops.

4. Information for citizens about how to prepare for, and respond to, a major disaster.

5. Where to go for help if and when a major disaster strikes.

If you have any ideas about how this blog could better help you and the community, please contact Sheri Taylor at United Way. Her email is and her phone number is 813-274-0962. 

If you would like to volunteer for a post-disaster opprtunity, please register with us for opportunties posted HERE



Read Part One here and Part Two here.

Passion. And pain.

This is the third principle mentioned in the The Practice of Leadership blog. In fact the blog puts it like this: “Passion is the fuel, and pain is the hidden ingredient.”

This means that individual talent and organization systems are not enough. Organization passion for innovation is “what transforms other resources into profits, but it never shows up on the balance sheet.” In the context of non-profits, innovating to make a profit may not be the calling, but clearly innovating to better manage costs, develop innovative programs, and deepen stakeholder relationships are among the things that concern us, when thinking of innovation.

I don’t think we require statistical proof to understand that passion drives and feeds success. If the workforce is not mission directed and unable to embrace vision, values, and systems with passion, fewer ideas will bubble and fewer opportunities emerge.

The blog writer does remind us that often “when pursuing a passion or following a dream, pain is part of the process. Innovation leaders need to take the pain with the passion and learn to manage both effectively.” The pain of passion, however, is quite preferable, I think, than the pain of complacency or the pain of an uninspired workforce.

Stay tuned for Part Four

Warn/Acorn Report on Foreclosures in Pinellas County indicates clearly the challenges families are facing during this economic downturn. You can download the full report (PDF) HERE

This report examines a snapshot of the foreclosure crisis in Pinellas County through an analysis of homes undergoing foreclosure proceedings during January, February, and March of 2008. Records of foreclosure proceedings in Pinellas County Circuit Court are available to the public on the County’s official website. A review of these records shows that 3,005 residential foreclosure proceedings were in progress during the first three months of 2008. While foreclosure on any home is a threat to property owners and communities, we wanted to focus on borrowers in the most dire need.

Therefore, we eliminated from our list property owners who owned more than one property in the county, or whose address of record is outside of the county, and ended up with a list of 1,001 foreclosure proceedings—all of which likely involve homeowners in danger of being evicted from their only home and residence (i.e., likely involving “homesteaded” properties). This is the data set presented in this report.

Almost half of these 1,001 foreclosures were occurring in St. Petersburg, but the remainder were spread throughout practically every community in the County—from Tierra Verde to Tarpon Springs. In fact, there was no spot in Pinellas County more than 2 miles from a homeowner facing foreclosure proceedings in early 2008. Furthermore, the crisis is affecting homeowners across the economic spectrum, with homes in foreclosure having market values ranging from under $50,000 to over $1 million. (Almost 10% of the homes on the list are worth more than $300,000.)

While the effects of the foreclosure crisis are harder to quantify than its extent, numerous social and economic ills can be linked to foreclosure. Those evicted from their homes are clearly the most affected—for them, foreclosure may mean a substantially lowered sta dard of living or even homelessness. Their former neighbors and communities,however, also feel the impact.

Between 2005 and 2007, the homeowner vacancy rate in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area rose from 1.8% to 5.1%, giving it in 2007 the second-highest vacancy rate among large metropolitan areas nationwide. High rates of foreclosure and resultant vacancy have been linked to higher crime rates and lower property values. Lower property values, in turn, often result in cuts to much-needed social services, from schools to law enforcement.

The Center for Responsible Lending predicts that Pinellas County properties will lose over $700 million in value as a result of foreclosures related to subprime mortgages issued in 2005-2006 alone. That equates to a loss of over $14 million in property tax revenues.


If you or anyone you know is in need of assistance, dial 2-1-1. You can also visit the Emergency Assistance Page at My Family’s Future. There may other helpful resources for you and those you care about on that site as well.

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