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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and tomorrow looks even better

Incoming President and CEO of the United Way of Northeast Florida, Michelle Braun, and Girls Incorporated of Jacksonville's Executive Director, Peg Ganger, celebrate a successful year.

What is the reality of the non-profit world right now?

I recently attended the United Way of North East Florida’s Annual Report and Awards and Luncheon and could not help but sit in amazement at how many wonderful people there are in the world right now. Every top corporation in Florida had at least one table of their best employees at the event who proudly accepted award after award.

Each employee there represented the hundreds of people in those companies who give their time and money to Live United and stand against poverty, drop-out rates, graduation rates, bullying, abuse and any other problems plaguing today’s society.

There is a huge network of people and corporations, who support and protect the missions of the multiple non-profit organizations that the United Way helps to fund, and they do it with major growth rates from one year to the next. This year alone, the community came together and raised a staggering $20.6 million! The money was all used for the Community Impact Fund, which supports core programs to improve education, income and health. Along with the money that was raised, over 12,000 volunteers contributed over 94,000 volunteer hours to the community through the 2013 United Way campaign.

With such growth, one must wonder, will the bubble burst and leave the future a dead end?

After unveiling their progress from the past year, The United Way of Northeast Florida introduced their new fearless leader, President and CEO, Michelle Braun. Her partner in success as the 2014 campaign chairman will be Mr. Pat Geraghty, the President and CEO of Florida Blue. Florida Blue led by example, with their 2013 company and employee contributions just under $2 million! After accepting the award for reaching such an honorable goal, they promised that next year their results would not be “just shy” of the $2 million mark.

With talented and driven fresh leadership and the momentum of reaching such success, this year promises to bring even more to the community- more volunteers, more compassion, more community awareness and more funding. Since the United Way funds most of the non-profits in northeast Florida, their success is truly success for every organization. The future for non-profits and community giving, promises growth, exponential growth.

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