Top Highlights for United Way of Broward County in 2023

Because of Essential Support from Our Donors and Volunteers, We Celebrated Major Impact Throughout the Entire Year

We’re coming to the end of 2023 and what better time to reflect on the past year, our highlights and milestones, and the wonderful ways we spent it with you!


  • Our Project EmPOWER team participated in the Broward Sheriff’s Office Holiday Fun Day event at Delevoe Park. The Broward Sheriff’s Office deployed deputies from the drone, crime scene and motorcycle unit. Over 65 young people attended this event, and they learned about each unit’s contributions to our community. A special thank you to Florida Power & Light and NextEra Energy Resources Foundation for their support of our Project EmPOWER.


  • United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention, Broward Behavioral Health Coalition and the Florida Department of Children and Families held their 5th annual Rompiendo Estigmas conference at The Signature Grand. This Spanish-language event featured guest speakers Raul Gonzalez and Vicente Passariello, along with various guest panelists, to promote mental health among families.
  • What a turnout at this year’s Tools for Schools! Our United Way honored over 200 nominees for Broward Teacher of the Year by delivering gift cards and a range of goodies to show our appreciation for their unwavering dedication and hard work. Huge thanks to our partner Publix and its employees for providing the gift cards and helping our staff and volunteers with distributing the items to these proud, deserving teachers in Broward County.


  • Over 50 United Way volunteers and Women United donors came together to support the National Education Association’s Read Across America initiative by reading The Lorax by Dr. Suess to over 500 children at Sunland Park Academy. Each student received a new copy of The Lorax to build an at-home library Students at Sunland Park Academy also spent the day learning about the importance of caring for our environment.
  • At our Broward Youth Coalition’s annual Alternative Spring Break, students participated in a special event at The Lucky Horse Sanctuary in Coconut Creek, Florida’s largest therapeutic farm. The event involved fun activities, including painting on horses, doing outdoor yoga and participating in mindfulness exercises with animals — all while connecting with other teens.


  • Broward County’s fashionistas showed out at our Women United’s Operation Runway event. The runway was on fire as Broward County Mayor Lamar Fisher and members of our Mayors’ Gala Committee and Women United posed in the latest attire from Dillard’s at the Galleria Fort Lauderdale.
  • This year, we achieved a record-setting Mayors’ Gala — a Salute to Excellence at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Over 850 guests danced, mingled and supported our community during the party of the year. This year, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of MISSION UNITED, reveled in the spirited live auction and enjoyed the music of multiplatinum-selling recording artists Exposé. A special thank you goes to Co-Chairs Stephen Moss and Jen Starkey, the event committee and our incredibly generous sponsors for this signature event.


  • Our Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention’s 8th Annual Behavioral Health Conference, presented by Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, Florida Department of Children and Families and The Signature Grand, welcomed a record-breaking 650+ attendees. Our keynote speakers and workshop presenters shared their expertise and insights, and this event provided a wealth of unique networking opportunities for professionals in the field. In honor of his notable career as a public servant, we presented the Paul E. Daly Champion for Prevention Award to community pioneer and United Way of Broward County Board Member Chuck Morton.


  • Our Broward Youth Coalition’s Youth Leadership Institute was a complete success. Over 300 students attended this two-day leadership event, and participants learned about mental health awareness, long-term skills about the prevention of substance use and best practices with community service in building a healthier Broward County. The free event included peer-to-peer sessions and interactive discussions with inspirational speakers.


  • We celebrated our ReadingPals mentors at the annual ReadingPals Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at the Signature Grand. Thank you to the countless volunteers who have aided thousands of children in Broward by building meaningful relationships, supporting their social-emotional development, and improving their reading and overall learning skills.


  • Marc of Raymond James was the lucky winner of the annual Holman Automotive Group car giveaway. For over 20 years, our United Way has awarded a new car to one lucky donor, thanks to the generosity of our friends at Holman Automotive, and Marc was randomly selected from a pool of over 10,000 donors who give annually. A massive thank you to Don King, General Manager of Holman Honda of Fort Lauderdale, and Ken Loiseau, VP of Southern Operations of Holman Automotive.
  • Our United Way distributed backpacks to over 300 families of local active military personnel and Veterans in Broward County. Thank you to all the individuals and businesses who donated school supplies and funds, filled the backpacks with supplies and assisted in the distribution to families. Your generous support brings immense value to young people in Broward, and because of you, students were able to start the school year prepared and confident.

  • We had an inspiring time at United Way of Broward County’s MISSION UNITED Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast and Award Ceremony. Congratulations to Stephen Ferrante, recipient of the 2023 Dr. Sid Rosenblatt Civilian Volunteer Award, and Matthew Chenworth, recipient of the Sid Rosenblatt Volunteer Veterans Award, for their devotion to supporting Veterans.


  • Our United Way’s Choose Peace/Stop Violence participated in our 14th Annual Choose Peace Week. This week is an annual celebration for Broward County’s 331 public schools and 260,235 students, comprised of daily activities and events promoting schools without fears of violence or conflict, empowerment of students as advocates for peace and safety, and the power of individual and collective responsibility.

  • Over 100 teachers and support staff at Gulfstream Academy of Hallandale Beach were greeted with a celebratory luncheon, courtesy of United Way of Broward County. At this event, our United Way’s President and CEO Kathleen Cannon presented a $25,000 donation for a new school marquee, which is ensuring students and families are updated daily with the community partnership school’s upcoming news and information.


  • We are proud and very excited to have a storefront at Junior Achievement of South Florida as our United Way plays a critical role in shaping the future leaders of Broward County. These storefronts at JA BizTown and JA Finance Park provide students with invaluable experiences in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness. United Way of Broward County’s storefront will be a hub for ambitious students to dream big and embark on their journeys to economic success and philanthropy.
  • During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latino Initiative Action Team hosted the Conversemos entre Mujeres event at the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center at Holy Cross Health. This event, held entirely in Spanish, provided a platform for women to discuss critical topics for their hell and well-being, such as stress management, nutrition, self-help, conscious and intentional thinking. Special guest speaker Sonia González-Boysen shared valuable and practical tools to positively tackle new life challenges.
  • It was a memorable time during United Way of Broward County’s MISSION UNITED Operation Turkey Dinner as volunteers distributed over 500 Thanksgiving meals to Broward County Veterans and their families. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported our drive and to this event’s generous sponsors.
  • Our United Way’s Behavioral Health Commission celebrated its 35th anniversary at a special event at the Lauderdale Yacht Club. Our United Way’s Commission is a powerful coalition comprised of diverse community leaders dedicated to empowering people to live healthy and drug-free, reducing substance misuse and advocating for our community’s individual and collective mental health. Over its illustrious 35-year history, the Commission has made a tremendous impact in changing state-wide legislation, developing innovative programs and initiatives and saving thousands of lives.
  • In partnership with the South Florida Community Land Trust, the City of Hallandale Beach and Broward County Government, our United Way commemorated the launch of one of our next affordable housing projects in Hallandale Beach through our Housing United With Housing United, our teams are collaborating with a range of community partners to bring fresh strategies, fundraising efforts and public policy to address the current housing crisis in Broward.


  • On our annual fundraising cruise with donors, we had an incredible time aboard the beautiful Celebrity Ascent. A big thank you to each of our guests who joined us on this ship’s inaugural sailing and to Celebrity Cruises for generously hosting us and providing our United Way with unwavering support.
  • Our 12th Annual Women United Magnolia Luncheon at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was a spectacular success, raising $225,000 to provide essential support to people in Broward County. Another huge round of applause for to event Co-Chairs Carol Cutler and Lonnie Maier, Women United Cabinet Chair LaurieAnne Minoff, the planning committee, honorees Traci Miller and Heidi Alzate Kaufman, our Title Sponsor Celebrity Cruises and all of our event sponsors for their incredible support.
  • Because of our United Way’s generous donors, we were able to bring holiday gifts and festivities to hundreds of children during our Latino Initiative’s Annual Adopt a Family holiday drive. Over 300 gifts were given to local families in three communities. Thank you to our dedicated volunteers and community partners for spreading to families in need.

From all of us at United Way at Broward County, it’s been a wonderful year of working with you. We are very thankful for our donors, volunteers and community partners — and we are very excited about making an even greater impact in 2024!