Although Manatee County is now part of a regional United Way covering Sarasota, Hillsborough, Pinellas and DeSoto counties, funds raised in Manatee County will be invested in Manatee programs and services, unless otherwise requested by the donor.
Bronwyn Beightol, who previously served as chief operating officer for United Way of Manatee County, is now the Manatee Area president and will work out of the consolidated office at 4215 Concept Court, Lakewood Ranch. The United Way shares the building with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.
The downtown Bradenton office of the United Way has been listed for sale.
The Manatee Area Board, chaired by Debbie Tapp, will drive local fundraising and investments. The Manatee Area Board also will have representation on the Suncoast board.
Eric Bailey, chairman of the Suncoast board, said that the combined United Way will build upon the successes in Manatee County.
“That success is not going anywhere,” he said, adding that some programs that originated in Manatee, such as childhood literacy, likely will spread beyond the Bradenton area.
“We will leverage the scale and keep the focus on the local level,” Bailey said.
Suzanne McCormick, president and CEO of United Way Suncoast, elaborated on that theme.
“We see incredible potential for increased impact through this merger. By combining our staff talent, expertise and capabilities, we will be able to leverage the power of scale, while delivering hyper-local impact and presence that can provide life-changing results for the people we serve,” McCormick said.
Beightol added: “So while you may notice some things are different, many things will remain the same.”
After a period of due diligence, both boards voted unanimously to accept the merger effective July 1, the beginning of their fiscal years.