Small businesses said to reap big funding benefits


Partnering with small businesses offers the United Way a totally new approach to increasing funding, Chris Wells told United Way members at a national conference recently.

Wells, the director of Development for the United Way of North Central Florida (UWNCFL), spoke about the UWNCFL’s Small Business Partnership at the annual United Way Worldwide Fundraising for Impact Summit in Phoenix.

“There are 28 million small businesses in the United States, and roughly 90 percent of them have 20 or fewer employees,” Wells said. “This is our biggest opportunity to reach new donors who were not previously engaged, allowing them to focus their giving in a way that is local, manageable and impactful.”

The UWNCFL program began two years ago and encourages small business owners to work with the United Way to support their local communities. The initiative has helped UWNCFL increase its community investment fund by 15 percent, the largest increase the organization has seen in its six decades of existence.

“Since its inception, we have grown to 150 small business partners, which is only the beginning,” Deborah Bowie, UWNCFL president and CEO, said. “We are excited to be included in the United Way Worldwide conference once again and to share our program with United Ways all over the globe. It is our belief that this strategy represents one of the most significant opportunities for revenue growth across the 1,300-member United Way network.”

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