Serving  DeSoto • Hillsborough • Pinellas • Sarasota


Felteena and Taohoseen Williams share their United Way Story for Art of Giving 2014.

United Way Suncoast invests in nearly 50 partner agency-based programs serving more than 100,000 children and youth (ages 0-17) throughout DeSoto, Sarasota, Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties.

Programs are focused on United Way’s educational objectives:

  • Early Literacy to ensure children surpass key school readiness and early grade level reading benchmarks (ages 0-12)
  • Youth Success to help ensure children graduate high school with the skills necessary to pursue post secondary education or vocational training (ages 13-18)

In addition, United Way Suncoast has created specific programs to help parents with a variety of opportunities to help their children succeed:bookstack

  • ReadingPals, an out-of-school-time program, provides adult mentors to young students who need help reading.  The Children’s Movement and United Way Suncoast, in conjunction with local and statewide partners and Carol and Barney Barnett, have launched a three-year initiative focused on engaging, training and deploying volunteer “reading pals” in ten Florida regions to increase the number of students who are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
  • In Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, Success by 6 provides a wide array of collaborative efforts to ensure that children under the age of six enter school prepared to be successful throughout the years that follow.  Success by 6 leverages resources as young children access services and opportunities to enter school ready to learn.
  • The Read on myON partnership provides all children from birth through grade 8 in Hillsborough County with access to more than 3,600 electronic books. The main goal of the myON partnership is to provide each child equitable access to the largest collection of enhanced digital books to encourage reading, increase literacy rates and promote literacy throughout the community.
  • United Way’s Summer Care initiative ensures that low-to-moderate income families have access to quality, affordable child care while providing parents with financial literacy classes. In 2013, 539 children received scholarships and 368 parents received financial education classes learning about budgeting, dollar-stretching, and credit/debt management.
  • In addition, 3718 children at Summer Care sites received Summer Bridge Books and spent 30 minutes each day engaged with the curriculum over the summer.  86% of students receiving the books  maintained or increased their reading skills over the summer.

United Way is devoted to making our children’s education a priority—entering kindergarten ready for school to graduating from high school inspired to seek additional higher education or vocational to achieve family sustaining income.


Jamie Toennies
Senior Director
Education Strategies
Tampa Bay
(813) 274-0925


Sarasota Area Office

1800 2nd Street, Suite 102, Sarasota, FL 34236

Ph. (941) 366-2686 • Fax (941) 365-4368

Tampa Bay Area Office

5201 W. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 600, Tampa, FL 33609

Ph. (813) 274-0900 • Fax (813) 228-9549

© 2006-2015 United Way Suncoast