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press release
7/5/12 02:52PM

United way suncoast created from merger of tampa bay and sarasota offices

United Way Suncoast formed with merger of Tampa Bay and Sarasota operations. The organization represents Desoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

United Way of Tampa Bay, Inc., which serves Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, and United Way of Sarasota County, Inc., which serves Sarasota and DeSoto County, have agreed to consolidate under a new name, United Way Suncoast, as of July 1, 2012.

“The regional discussions confirmed our expectations about the benefits of sharing knowledge, systems, professional staff and volunteers, and other resources,” said Diana Baker, President & CEO, United Way of Tampa Bay.  “Consolidation enhances our ability to consistently advance United Way’s priority initiatives in the areas of education, income, and health.”

Katie Knight, Acting President & CEO, United Way of Sarasota County, said, “We can provide more help to more people if we work together.  And, we set a leadership example while ensuring that we get the maximum benefit from the resources committed to us by United Way donors and volunteers.”

The new structure requires the continuation of local leadership by staff and volunteers, local presence with area offices and programming, and local decision-making regarding the investment of funds raised in the Sarasota and Tampa Bay communities.  Administrative functions will be centralized to create greater efficiencies wherever possible, but the real work of United Way will continue in the local communities.

“Our greatest needs and resources in Florida's Suncoast span the whole region.  So it makes sense to organize on a more regional basis while staying closely connected to our local communities,” said Gary L. Sasso, President and CEO, Carlton Fields, P.A. and incoming board chair of the new United Way Suncoast. “We are excited and hopeful that this merger will significantly enhance our ability to address together even more effectively the critical issues of early childhood learning, family financial independence, and health -- the root causes of some of our most persistent challenges.”

United Way volunteer leadership has spent two years thoughtfully exploring the opportunities associated with a more regional United Way structure, and believe now is the right time to make it happen.

The major benefits of the new structure include:

  • The ability to increase capacity to deliver on United Way’s mission and community impact priorities by pooling resources and sharing knowledge.
  • The opportunity to minimize costs and maximize best practices in all aspects of the United Way work locally and around the region.
  • The ability to provide the best possible opportunities and experiences for donors, acknowledging the live-work patterns of individuals and the interests of our regional corporate and community partners.

Diana Baker will serve as President and CEO of the new regional organization.  Local area boards will remain in place, supported by an Area President (one in Tampa Bay, one in Sarasota), local staff, and local offices.  “The integration strategy we will undertake as part of the new regional structure will ensure a positive experience for all of our constituents,” said Brian Deming, United Way of Tampa Bay board chair and task force member.

United Way’s vision and passion to improve the lives of others throughout Florida, the U.S., and around the world, has been recognized by numerous civic and corporate leaders.   In more than nine decades of service in west central Florida, millions of deserving people have been helped throughout DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.  This is accomplished through mobilizing the tens of thousands of generous individual and corporate donors, and countless volunteers, who understand that when you reach out a hand to one, you influence the condition of all.

Learn more at


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Download more info
UW Suncoast FAQs.docx