United Way Suncoast Taps Veteran Journalist as VP of Communications

United Way Suncoast Taps Veteran Journalist, former Tampa Bay Times Columnist, Ernest Hooper to be Vice President of Communications

TAMPA, FL – March 1st, 2021 – United Way Suncoast is pleased to announce that veteran journalist Ernest Hooper has joined the organization as their Vice President of Communications effective March 1st.

Ernest Hooper brings a wealth of communications experience and community engagement knowledge to his role at the United Way Suncoast. For the last 15 months, Hooper has served cancer patients, survivors, thrivers, and caregivers as the communications director for the American Cancer Society’s southwest Florida division, promoting the nonprofit’s events in an 11-county region.

“We are excited to have Ernest join the United Way Suncoast team. His experience and strength in telling our community’s stories is a natural fit and will be a tremendous asset to our region. We know that sharing the critical needs of our community and telling the stories of so many organizations and individuals who are making an impact is critical to our work”, says Jessica Muroff – CEO of United Way Suncoast

Prior to joining ACS, Hooper was a columnist, editor, sportswriter, and ambassador for the Tampa Bay Times. He’s best known for his longtime work as a community columnist, and during his 27-year tenure at the paper, he frequently wrote about nonprofit efforts across Tampa Bay and provided his unique perspective on all that distinguishes this area. While at the Times, Creative Loafing readers twice named him Tampa Bay’s best columnist.

Hooper also hosts the quarterly public affairs television show, That’s All I’m Saying, on WEDU-PBS. In addition, Hooper co-leads The Write Field Program, a writing-intensive for middle school and high school boys at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. He is also a frequent youth speaker at local schools and a regular guest presenter at Florida Scholastic Press Association events.

In 2017, Hooper’s long-time involvement with high school journalism students led to him receiving the national Friend of Journalism Award from the Journalism Education Association.

“I’m excited to add to the new energy coursing through United Way Suncoast. The United Way has long played a prominent role in assisting our most deserving residents, but I’m confident it’s going to enjoy more success elevating its partner agencies and addressing our most pressing problems. I’m inspired to play a role in forwarding the mission of strengthening the community, and I cherish the opportunity to rise every day with a sense of purpose”, Says Hooper

Ernest is married to his University of Florida college sweetheart Florence and they have three children: Matthew, Ethan, and Madelyn.

About United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast severs the constraints that prevent families from thriving. We dismantle the barriers to human prosperity, uniting our community along the way. When we provide pathways to early learning, financial stability, and youth success, we lift up families as they cultivate a future beyond the circumstantial constraints put on them. We provide choices. We provide opportunities. We create space for families to grow without limitations, elevating communities by building a future with equity for all. We are proud to serve the people of DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties by operating and funding services and programs to help our community have the Freedom To Rise.

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