You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

I wish you could see the smiles on all the faces in the pictures on my bulletin board. They belong to ten Haitians, some shown with family members, who now have permanent homes thanks to your direct donations to them through United Way of Tampa Bay.

More than a year has passed since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Your generous donations during our fund-raising telethon on NewsChannel 8 were invested with Food For The Poor, an organization that has served in Haiti for 24 years. Last month Food For The Poor sent us a comprehensive report on how the $62,000 was used.

Ten double-wide homes were built in Jacmel, a city on Haiti’s southern coast that was devastated by the earthquake, for the smiling families I mentioned earlier. The families chose the bright colors for the homes themselves. You also purchased 200 wheelchairs that have been delivered to hospitals in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Petit Goave and Cap Haitien. Nearly as many people were injured as died on that devasting day in January 2010, and many are facing lives as amputees due to their injuries. The wheelchairs will help them cope.

I’m awed at our caring community. Your donations to United Way of Tampa Bay are used for the common good, mainly right here in our own community, but you reached out to people far away when they were in need. As Food For The Poor put it, “You helped give a new start and a new life to so many individuals and families who had nothing.”


Diana Baker, President/CEO


The year 2010 is ending on what looks to be a positive note for your United Way. Our early workplace campaign results are encouraging, showing once again what a generous and caring community Tampa Bay is. I’m crossing my fingers that the worst of this difficult economic time appears to be behind us.

Our goals for 2011 are lofty. I know we can achieve them! Our first priority is to open community dialogues about education. The goal is to increase graduation rates in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to 90 percent by 2019. The rate in Hillsborough is 82.3 percent; Pinellas’ is 77.7 percent. While these numbers are better than some cities, we believe we should do better for our children. Our staff, volunteers, education professionals and interested community members continue to work with our partners in education on strategies and tactics to reach the goal.

Join the dialogue. We’d like to engage the entire community in the discussion. Whether you have children in the school system or not; whether you attended Florida schools or not; whether you’re a teacher or work in another function in the school system; or if you just care about the state of education. Click here to take a simple pledge. At the end of the year, we’re giving away an iPad  to one lucky person who raises a hand for education.

You can get involved in other ways, too. Tell us about a teacher who made a difference in your life. Volunteer to mentor a child or tutor a student. Or make a tax-deductible donation that will help us move closer to our education goals.

Thank you in advance for raising your hand for education. Here’s wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2011. May all your New Year’s resolutions come true.


Diana Baker, President/CEO

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