United Way of St. Johns County drives impact, accelerates advocacy

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The United Way of St. Johns County invited volunteers, donors, partner agencies and community leaders to Art n’ Motion on July 18 to learn how the nonprofit is driving impact, bridging boundaries and accelerating advocacy. Melissa Nelson, president and CEO, shared results from the 2018-2019 year as well as plans for 2019-2020.

The United Way-SJC’s Facebook page states, “We measure success not by dollars raised, but by lives improved and changed.” Still, funds raised last year were key in driving impact in the community. A partnership with a firm that negotiates prescription discounts saved St. Johns County residents $328,177. Community Impact Grants of nearly $150,000 were awarded to educational programs. And more than 20 volunteers donated 913 hours of free tax preparation services yielding nearly $1.2 million of impact in the community.

The Empty Stocking Fund raised $105,000 to provide holiday gifts and meals to 538 families. Through a partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, 122,000 pounds of food was collected and distributed to pantries throughout St. Johns County.

Looking ahead, Jay Owen announced his Design Extensions team will donate 20 hours on Sept. 27 to focus on campaign marketing and messaging perspectives that will help the United Way accomplish its goals. It will be a live broadcast like an old-school telethon with a different business featured and prize giveaways every hour. The goal is to generate $20,000 for the United Way that day. Leading up to the event, enter to win a sunset sail for two on the Schooner Freedom in St. Augustine at www.2020UW.com.

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