Pensacola, Fla. – September 17, 2019
A capacity crowd of just under 400 community members joined United Way of West Florida at the Pensacola Bay Center for their Annual Campaign Kickoff Celebration on Tuesday. Adorned with collegiate and professional football jerseys, shirts, and attire, attendees enjoyed a catered stadium meal from the Bay Center before the program began.
Uptown Eddie Murray of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos kicked off the event by driving a KIA Optima into the Pensacola Bay Center and taking the stage to inspire the crowd, “It’s because of your hard work and generosity that we are able to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every single person in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.”
United Way of West Florida’s Campaign Chair, Amy Miller, continued the formal program by sharing her vision for this year’s campaign, “This is going to be a very big for us, huge, maybe even historic!” she proclaimed. “With more players on our team than ever, there’s no reason this campaign can’t result in one of the highest total giving years we’ve ever seen.”
Kicking off the “half-time show” portion of the program, Christine York of Vivid Bridge Studios, one of the organization’s newest sponsors, introduced their most recent production for the organization and reminded attendees the role they play in United Way’s fight. “Change starts with you here today,” she stated, “your contributions matter, your campaign matters, and your belief in this community matters.”
Following York, Coach David Wilson of Studer 55 Athletics offered a locker-room-style address, talking about his experiences and sharing three rules for making a difference. “Do what’s right, you know the difference between right and wrong, so do what’s right,” he started. “Be the best you can be with the ability you are given,” Wilson continued, “and the last thing you can do is you can care about others.” Wilson has over 30 years of coaching experience at various levels and has accumulated numerous accolades, including winning an NCAA Championship with Troy University.
The program also included the introduction to this year’s lineup of Ambassadors with Uptown Eddie’s patented Blue Wahoos Stadium flair. Pacesetter campaigns were announced, and with their combined efforts they’ve already raised over $105,000 to support United Way in its work in our community.
United Way of West Florida also unveiled two incentives to giving individually or through a workplace campaign. The organization announced that their partnership with KIA AutoSport of Pensacola will continue for a sixth year, and that one lucky individual who makes an undesignated gift to UWWF of $250 or more will be eligible to take home a KIA like the one driven into today’s event. Additionally, those who make an undesignated gift of $200 or more will receive a Caring Community Club card, which entitles them to discounted services and meals at participating businesses and restaurants. To learn more, visit www.uwwf.org/KIA or www.uwwf.org/caringcommunity.
To view a photo gallery from the event, visit www.uwwf.org/2019Kickoff. If you’re interested in learning more about how to get involved with United Way of West Florida, visit www.uwwf.org or call 850-434-3157.
2019-20 Ambassador Class
- Angel Bradley, Florida Department of Health
- Bradley Sanders, Gulf Coast Kid’s House
- Brittany Miller, Wells Fargo
- Brooke Policicchio, Cowork @nnex
- Carey Ertel, West Florida Healthcare
- Carolanne Savage, Innisfree Hotels – Hyatt Place Pensacola Airport
- Cecilia McAdams, Beach Community Bank
- Chloe Diehl-Fulton, Autism Pensacola
- Christa Lainhart, Florida Blue
- Jamie Hawley, Pen Air Federal Credit Union
- Jim Caperton, Caldwell Associates Architects
- Justin Burgess-Roche, JDNT Holdings, LLC.
- Katin Davis, Goldring Gulf Distributing Company
- Leigh Taylor, Trustmark National Bank
- Tavara Richard, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast
- Timmy Garlitz, Navy Federal Credit Union
- Tina Stojak, Gulf Power Company
- Victoria Cheatham, Pen Air Federal Credit Union
2019-20 Pacesetter Campaigns
- Autism Pensacola
- Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE)
- Clark Partington Attorneys at Law
- Feeding the Gulf Coast
- The First, A National Banking Association
- Goodwill Easterseals of the Gulf Coast
- Greenhut Construction Company
- Hancock Whitney
- Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida
- KIA AutoSport of Pensacola
- PACE Center for Girls
- Sirote & Permutt
- SunTrust Bank
- United Way of West Florida
- Warren Averett
- West Florida Hospital
United Way of West Florida is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every citizen in our community. UWWF has operated locally for 95 years with a vision of a community United to create better opportunities for all. By investing in programs, participating in partnerships, and leveraging resources, UWWF works to meet a mission of Uniting our community to improve lives.