Annual Impact

Transforming Local Lives

$1,976,340 invested in Charlotte County programs
23 programs provided by 18 local partners
2,902 volunteer hours

Read more about Who We Are, What We Do, and Who We Serve.

2021 Campaign Kickoff

 

Through the power of philanthropy we unite our community to transform local lives.

In this digital annual report, you will find stories of partnership, collaboration, and perseverance. You’ll learn about the people who make Charlotte County more vibrant, and how we plan to create a more equitable community. 

Thank you for joining us in the fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. Together, we have much more to do in service to those who need us most.

Who are We Fighting For?

ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

ALICE ReportWhen COVID-19 hit, nearly 2.6 million Florida households were one emergency away from financial ruin — a 10-year record high — setting the stage for the unprecedented economic impact of the crisis, according to the state’s latest ALICE Report, released by United Way of Florida, in partnership with United For ALICE.

Over the last decade, Florida’s low-income families systematically lost buying power and financial stability as the high cost of essentials outpaced wages, driving the number of ALICE households to rise 66 percent by 2018, the report shows. 

ALICE families face tough choices when they do not have enough income or assistance to afford basic necessities. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated and shifted the challenges and risks to a family’s educational success, financial stability, and health and well-being.

As the Lead Agency for Charlotte County's Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, United Way of Charlotte County mobilized partners and volunteers to improve early literacy skills for our youngest learners.

  • Charlotte County Public Schools and VPK providers distributed materials for caregivers to use to get students ready for kindergarten. A total of 1,800 Kindergarten Readiness Bags were assembled by community volunteers and provided to families.
  • Imagination Library mailed 26,279 free books to preschool age children in the past year, and provided any returned books to Kids Thrive families and Lizzy the Literacy Bus.
  • Kids Thrive used family reading experiences to build bonds between parents and children. Women United members routinely donate books for these families to build their home libraries.
  • After-school scholarships were provided for struggling readers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County and YMCA of Southwest Florida that included a mentor and extra reading support for these students. 65% of students who were matched with a mentor were reading on grade level by the end of the year.

Before third grade, students are learning to read. After third grade, students are reading to learn. By supporting early childhood reading initiatives, we help all students in Charlotte County learn!

 

 

Educational Success

 

Homelessness is about more than housing. The Ending Youth & Chronic Homelessness Collaboration uses the rapid re-housing model along with access to health benefits and addressing complex medical, and behavioral health needs to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and a one-time experience.

With a $623,256 United Way of Charlotte County investment over the past four and a half years:

  • Effectively ended chronic homelessness as defined by US Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • 167 chronically homeless individuals have been housed since April 2017
  • 86% of clients remaining in housing past the end of receiving financial assistance (compared to national retention rate of 75%)
  • 73% SOAR approval rate (for Social Security, as well as Medicare and Medicaid; compared to national rate of 65%)
  • Provided lifesaving clinic and pharmacy services to 194 patients (over 700 clinic visits and over 2,300 prescriptions dispensed)

The Ending Chronic Homeless Collaborative’s mission is to provide Health, Housing and Financial Stability for our community’s most vulnerable through integrated care.

Financial Stability

 

Kids Thrive uses a focus on early intervention and a two-generation approach to impact the lives of families with a history of substance abuse.

With a $268,037 United Way of Charlotte County investment over the past three and a half years:

  • 122 children and 81 families have received services - Services to parents include parenting, literacy, and life skills training.
  • 77% of children who were screened met their developmental milestones
  • 86% of preschool-aged children scored average or higher on Get Ready to Read screening
  • 83% of women who were assessed showed improved on the Self-Sufficiency Matrix
  • Babies born substance-exposed are seeing more positive birth outcomes - The average length of stay in the NICU for newborns born substance-exposed (pre-COVID) dropped from 28 days to 14 days.

Kids Thrive does some of its best work by helping mothers build social capital. They find support, create friendships, and learn leadership skills through the Circle of Parents peer support group that has recently expanded to a second group. 

Health and Wellness

 

These Programs Help Our Fight on Poverty in Charlotte County

MOBILIZING AND ENGAGING BY THE NUMBERS

Charlotte County Households

40% of Charlotte County households are struggling to meet their basic needs

Financial Assistance

$571,852 provided to help 800 families through rent, mortgage and utility assistance

Before the arrival of a worldwide pandemic, data showed that 10% of Charlotte County households had incomes below the Federal Poverty Line, and another 30% had incomes just above the line. This represents nearly 30,000 households in our community where living paycheck to paycheck was the norm.

Housing the Homeless

153 Chronically Homeless Individuals were housed since April 2017

 

Remained Housed

81% remained housed;
demonstrating self-sufficiency
despite long-term, ongoing struggles

Homelessness is about more than housing. The Ending Youth & Chronic Homelessness Collaboration uses the rapid re-housing model along with access to health benefits and addressing complex medical, and behavioral health needs to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and a one-time experience.

ALICE

10% of Charlotte County Households
live at or below the Federal Poverty Level

VITA
$766,096 in Tax Refunds from
732 Tax Returns received through the
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program

VITA serves low-income tax payers who might otherwise struggle to afford the costs associated with filing their income taxes. In 2021, the adjusted gross income of clients served was $22,382. A $200+ tax preparation fee could keep an individual from buying groceries or needed medications that month.

Substance Exposed
10 babies born substance
exposed (April 2021- Sept. 2021)

9 did not need neonatal care

9 babies did not require
neonatal intensive care despite being exposed
to substances in the womb.

Kids Thrive families are taught methods for reducing the impacts of substance exposure for their babies. They are provided support (prenatal to age 5) to be successful in raising healthy children. *One baby required admission to the NICU due to medical reasons, not neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Grade Level Reading
376 3rd Grade Students were not reading on grade level (Spring 2021)

 

Mentorships

65% of children matched with a mentor were on grade level by the end of the year. 

The Charlotte County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading uses a multi-pronged approach to helping struggling readers: book drives/distributions, Summer Reading Challenge, and reading interventions through pairing volunteers with children at after-school programs across the county.

Students not ready for Kindergarten

561 students were not ready for Kindergarten

Kindergarten Readiness Bags

1,800 Kindergarten readiness bags were distributed to preschool age children.

 

Charlotte County Public Schools and VPK providers distributed materials for caregivers to use to get students ready for kindergarten. Imagination Library mailed 26,279 free books to preschool age children in the past year, and provided any returned books to Kids Thrive families and Lizzy the Literacy Bus.

2021-2022 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Charlotte Miller, President,
Florida Power & Light

Harvey Goldberg, Past President,
Former Mayor City of Punta Gorda

Fred Cort, President-Elect,
Retired Management Consultant

Steve Curasco, Treasurer,
Peace River Distributing

Kristin Cardona, Community Impact Co-Chair,
Rovicare

Marcia M. Cullinan, Community Impact Chair / VITA,
Realtor®, Michael Saunders & Co.

Erin Gant, Resource Development Chair,
Riverside Realty Services

Board Members at Large

Joe Bender, DMD, Panther Hollow Dental Lodge
Michael Ehrat, Fawcett Memorial Hospital
Vanessa Grant Oliver, Ambitrans Medical Transport
Caryn Huff-Sufferling, Wharton-Smith, Inc.
Tara McCoy, Bayfront Health
Kaley Miller, Punta Gorda Airport
Nick Nemec, Edward Jones
Julie Price, JRP Medical Sales
Melissa Reichert, City of Punta Gorda
Cara Reynolds, Charlotte County School Board & WrightWay Emergency Services
Liz Sides, Circle of Parents
Kay Tracy, Charlotte County Economic Development Office
Katie Wallace, Wallace Law Firm
Bill Wood, MD, Retired Radiologist

Board Member Emeritus*

Thomas Rice, retired
Kathy Silverberg, retired
Sue Sifrit, Past President, Retired Charlotte County School Board
Leah Valenti, Southwest Florida District Director, U.S. Senator Rick Scott
Steve Vito, GWU Unlimited
W. Kevin Russell, P.A., Attorney at Law, Ex-Officio to the UWCC Foundation

 

 

 

*Denotes a non-voting board member