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A Note of Gratitude from Our CEO

November 22, 2023


Dear United Way supporter,

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It allows me important time to reflect and give thanks for all the blessings in my life.

One of those blessings is you. You fuel United Way’s impactful work every day — and have for nearly 100 years! Thank you for your gifts of time, talent, ideas and donations — and your unwavering passion for improving the lives of others. We are creating hope and opportunity thanks to your generous spirit.

While I wanted to keep this note short — it’s a busy week for us all — I did want to share a few key updates as we enter the holiday season:

  • In case you missed it last week, we announced a $10 million investment in affordable housing. We are grateful for this opportunity to change the Jacksonville housing ecosystem. You can read the full press release here.
  • We are also currently looking for individuals to “adopt a family” through our Holiday Food and Gift Drive. Learn more and sign up to brighten a family’s holiday season.
  • The holidays also mean our RealSense team is busy getting ready for the next tax season. They will soon open nearly two dozen sites that will help approximately 10,000 families file their taxes at no charge — and connect them to asset-building resources in our community. We hope you will save the date for our RealSense open house happening Feb. 29 at the Gateway tax site. More information will be forthcoming.
  • Also, we encourage you to save the date for our largest MLK Day service effort, which will actually be a full week of service running Jan. 12-20. The celebration will span three counties (Duval, Clay and Nassau) and deploy approximately 1,000 volunteers across dozens of projects and events. Sign-up information will be available next week on our website — be on the lookout for how you can get involved. Sponsorships are available now by emailing our chief operations officer, Coretta Hill.
  • Finally, our 100th anniversary festivities are underway, and we need your help! We want to capture as many United Way stories as possible. We encourage you to submit your United Way story. Whether you’ve been a volunteer, donor or beneficiary, we want to hear why United Way is important to you. We look forward to featuring these stories on our blog and social media as our anniversary month (April) nears. Additionally, sponsorship opportunities are available for our community anniversary celebration April 13 taking place in James Weldon Johnson Park in Downtown Jacksonville. Email our vice president of philanthropy, Patrick Moran, to learn more.


With that, I hope you have a wonderful, restful, happy Thanksgiving with friends and family. We cannot thank you enough for helping our community reach its full potential, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

With gratitude,


Melanie Patz
President and CEO
United Way of Northeast Florida