You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2010.

What is an effective teacher? How do we keep them, get more of them and put them where they’ll do the most good? These are some of the questions that a special workgroup will grapple with through December. 

Along with United Way, the group includes representatives from Hillsborough Public Schools, Classroom Teachers Association, Parent Teachers Association, The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, University of Tampa College of Education, Social Science and Mathematics, USF College of Education and the Tampa Bay Partnership. 

The work is possible thanks to a grant received from United Way Worldwide, who reached out to United Ways around the country with reputations for effective leadership and collaboration. United Way of Tampa Bay was invited to apply for the grant and will work to mobilize our community in support of teacher effectiveness.

That’s just one initiative that’s going on at United Way of Tampa Bay this summer.  We’re wrapping up our 2009 workplace campaign and beginning to visit CEOs throughout the Bay Area to discuss the 2010 campaign, which we’ll kickoff in August. To the thousands of you who give from your heart to help your community, you have my deepest gratitude.

Our community investment team has started to meet with our partner agencies to evaluate their goals, determine their effectiveness and, most of all, make sure that the investments you make are used to achieve the greatest impact. This is another process, handled by volunteers, that is lengthy and difficult – and that makes United Way very different from other non-profit organizations. Our goal is to make sure your hard-earned dollars are used in the most efficient way to impact the greatest good.  When you reach out a hand to one, you influence the condition of all – and we work hard to earn your trust and investments every single day.

I wish a safe and happy Independence Day to you all.

Diana Baker, President/CEO, United Way of Tampa Bay


In 2007, Jeff Chilcott knew he had to get his daughter, Olivia, involved in volunteering as part of her high school community service requirements. More than two years later, they’ve done more than just volunteer. They’ve made a difference.

Olivia was recognized for her work as a United Way volunteer by taking home the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award at a HandsOn Tampa Bay volunteer celebration at a Tampa Bay Rays game in April.

“Winning the award was a complete surprise and I didn’t expect it,” said Olivia, a junior at Northside Christian High School. In Olivia’s eyes, winning the award comes with a responsibility to her friends and peers. “This award does make me feel that I need to step it up as a volunteer. My peers look up to me as a role model.”

Olivia’s award became a reality in part because of her hard work and dedication to United Way’s HandsOn program, but it also came to fruition because of her dad.

 Jeff and Olivia’s mom are divorced, with Jeff seeing Olivia every other weekend. But Jeff didn’t want to fall into the role of an occasional dad who pampers his teenager and does fruitless activities with no impact. He wanted to do something that makes a difference for both of them and the community.

 “She’s into Facebook, cell phones, and all of the technology that teenagers are into. But when we started volunteering, it was a great way for us to bond. Whereas a lot of kids put their iPods on and don’t talk, and the parents are dropping their kids off at the mall, to me that’s selfish. We created a schedule for volunteering,” Jeff said. “I’m so proud of her. She’s a great daughter. She’s a great person.”

 Jeff and Olivia are examples of a United Way volunteer superstar duo. Jeff received a certificate at the HandsOn celebration for serving 100-plus hours. He also served as project manager of 17 projects. Olivia served 50 hours of community service in 2009, far beyond the few hours she was required to do back as a freshman.

 “I definitely recommend people to volunteer. Both me and my dad are out there helping others,” she said.

 From feeding the homeless with Feeding America to helping handicapped individuals rehab at Quantum Leap Farm to pulling weeds at the Lowry Park Zoo, there is no job big or small that the Chilcotts won’t do for Tampa Bay.

 “We do this because if there weren’t volunteers to support these agencies, they couldn’t afford to provide important programs and services,” Jeff added.

 Jeff and Olivia strive to grow as volunteers, both on the stat sheet and impact. To Olivia, following her dad’s volunteer footsteps came naturally.

 “I’ve bonded with my dad. The volunteer work that he does makes me look up to him.”

Father’s Day is only a week away, but for Jeff and Olivia Chilcott, Father’s Day happens every other weekend for the father-daughter duo at United Way volunteer projects throughout the Bay area.

Want to volunteer? Call Sue Franzen at 813-274-0999 or click here.

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