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Business Engagement Heightens Charitable Outreach

When the United Way of Broward County and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, along with 45 members of the Broward Business Council and city and county governments, launched the “United We End Home-lessness” campaign to fight chronic homelessness countywide, AutoNation established a $300,000 matching grant.

The grant for what organizers called a “collaborative communitywide initiative” came with a challenge to other businesses from the company’s chairman, president and CEO, Mike Jackson: “We must do more to create a home for all.”

James Donnelly, founder and CEO of the Castle Group and co-chairman of the Business Council, calls homelessness “a human tragedy” that demands business leaders facilitate solutions.

Whether for education, job training, affordable and workforce housing or homelessness, such giving and outreach is nothing new in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The county’s top six corporate donors — JM Family Enterprises, Rick Case Automotive Group, AutoNation, the Florida Panthers Foundation, City Furniture and Kaplan — gave roughly a combined $40 million in 2016, according to the South Florida Business Journal. In fact, three of South Florida’s top four donors are based in Broward County.

For those companies keen to get involved with groups in need, the Community Foundation of Broward has provided leadership on community solutions and connected people with causes since 1984. With more than 450 charitable funds representing $173 million, it has distributed $89 million during the past 33 years to address issues affecting seniors, the arts and the LGBTQ community.

The county’s network of charitable organizations has become a safety net for various populations and fosters continued economic growth, says Kathleen Cannon, president, CEO of United Way of Broward County. Not only do non-profits employ a large workforce, they help communities thrive by giving families the training, health care or economic boost they may need. Incomes and standards of living rise, family life improves and businesses see the benefit, she says.

“It’s really a cyclical event. If business and non-profits work together, everybody thrives,” Cannon says. “It’s a win-win. We’re constantly trying to show people that a little bit of effort and philanthropy helps you and your business.”

Dozens of charities and not-for-profit organizations work with area corporations in shared missions to help improve life in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Ann Storck Center
Arc Broward
ArtServe
Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Broward Education Foundation
Broward Public Library Foundation
Business for the Arts of Broward
Community Care Plan
Coordinating Council of Broward
Crockett Foundation
Emerge Broward
Fellowship Foundation RCO
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation
Greater Miami / Fort Lauderdale American Heart Association
HABCO Manufacturing
Hispanic Unity of Florida
Historic Stranahan House Museum
Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
Junior Achievement of South Florida
Leadership Broward Foundation
Nonprofit Executive Alliance of Broward
Orange Bowl Committee
Trustbridge Hospice Foundation
United Way of Broward County
Urban League of Broward County
YMCA of South Florida