by Max Marbut
City employees set a new benchmark for contributions to the United Way Campaign in 2006. A group of donors were recognized Tuesday morning for their “Leadership Giver” contributions of $1000 or more and others were acknowledged for their volunteer commitment as departmental campaign chairs.
City departments and constitutional offices raised $386,413 last year, a 19 percent increase over 2005 donations. Fifteen departments joined the United Way Circle of Honor for increases in total giving, per capita giving and percent participation.
City Employee Campaign Chair Roslyn Phillips said each year the United Way is the City’s primary fundraising campaign, so “we spend more time and more focus and investment in this opportunity for giving than in any other campaign. The 2006 goal was to raise awareness and to concentrate on increasing employee giving and participation.”
Phillips added a new goal has been set to increase the per-employee giving amount to $50 or more over the next five years. In 2006, the per-capita figure was $46.
“That’s a very lofty goal, but it’s important and I think it’s one we can accomplish,” she said.
Phillips was recognized by the United Way of Northeast Florida as the “Employee Campaign Chair of the Year” as well as by the City for her accomplishment.
Mickey Miller, the City’s Leadership Giving Chair, was honored by United Way for helping increase donations in that category by 40% over 2005.
Dan Kleman, director of the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department, is also the public sector campaign chair for the United Way Campaign Cabinet.
He said the City wasn’t thinking “big enough” when a goal was set to increase contributions by a modest 2 percent over 2005.
“I’m not sure what we were thinking because the City of Jacksonville alone with its 19 percent increase propelled the public sector division into an overall 17 percent increase. For the first time, the public service campaign raised over $1 million,” said Kleman, who also said the overall campaign raised a record $25 million community-wide last year.
“The City’s campaign is phenomenal,” said Connie Hodges, president of United Way of Northeast Florida. “This community has an inherent desire to improve living conditions for its people. We are a community that cares and we have a spirit of stepping out and making things better for all.”
Hodges also said the record-setting contribution will be invested to help support three important initiatives “that focus on the root problems of our community’s toughest problems.”
• Establishing an elder care advocate program at Baptist Health Center and UF&Shands Hospital to help senior patients increase their independence and remain in their homes instead of the hospital.
• Programs to increase school readiness by improving early-learning in child-care centers. Hodges said teachers will be trained and classroom materials will be provided because, “we must must have quality child-care centers if our kids are to be ready to enter kindergarten. If they enter school ready to learn their chances of continuing their education and graduating will increase.”
• An effort to increase parent involvement to decrease the drop-out rate in Duval County. “Parents’ involvement in their child’s education is key to their success and students are most vulnerable in their middle-school transition years. If we can catch these kids in middle-school, they will be less likely to drop out in the 11th and 12th grades,” said Hodges.
“This really speaks well for our city,” said Mayor John Peyton of the record-breaking campaign. “I am particularly proud of the emphasis United Way is putting on early childhood learning. Of all the things we are doing at City Hall, it has the greatest chance for making a huge difference in our city. I think the investment we are making in our young people will reap a huge return.”
Top department 2006 United Way campaigns
|Administration & Finance||$57,936|
|Jacksonville Public Libraries||$23,546|
|Parks & Recreation||$21,905|
|Fire & Rescue||$21,751|
|Human Rights Commission||100%|
|Economic Development Comm.||88%|
|Employee per capita donation|
|Economic Development Comm.||$490|
|Human Rights Commission||$259|
|Office of the General Counsel||$223|
|Medical Examiners Office||$197|
|Leadership givers ($1000 or more)|
|Administration & Finance||21|
|Office of the General Counsel||11|
|Environmental Resources Mgmt.||11|
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