On Wednesday, September 14th at 11 o’clock in the morning, members of the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, donors, and friends of United Way of the Big Bend convened in the arena of the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to kickoff the 80th Anniversary of United Way in Tallahassee and the 2022-2023 campaign season.  President & CEO, Berneice Cox, welcomed everyone and expressed her gratitude for the over 425 people in attendance at this year’s spectacular sold-out event Berneice further expressed the United Way of the Big Bend’s 80-year commitment to caring, and our unrelenting desire to help make the lives of people who live in our eight-county region better.  Following the welcome, Berneice sat down with the Chair of our Board of Directors, Erik Davis, and discussed what United Way of the Big Bend means to him and the role that we play in helping those in our community living in poverty and at the edge of poverty.  “I feel that you must be hands-on in your efforts to add value and improve the place you call home,” said Erik expressing his views and the mission of United Way of the Big Bend.  “United Way plays a vital role in our community.  The current direction is one that allows the organization to be nimble and to assure that the organization is always actively working to aid the community in the areas of most need at that time.”

Following their discussion, the very first Legacy Award was presented to long-time supporter of United Way of the Big Bend, Mr. Dubose Ausley, for his over fifty years of commitment to and support of UWBB and having previously served as both Board Chair and Campaign Chair.  Mr. Ausley embodies a true community advocate acting not only through words but actions, and we thank him and recognize his gracious spirit through our very first Legacy Award.

Additional recognition was given to organizations throughout Tallahassee for their generous support of United Way of the Big Bend including Publix, Florida State University, HCA Healthcare, Capital Health Plan and Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.  Thank you for your contributions allowing us to do the work that we do every day to help our neighbors in need.  In addition, the event sponsors Publix, Smartbank, The First Bank and Truist were thanked for their support in sponsoring the Annual Community Meeting.

Berneice Cox recognized the 2022-2023 Campaign Cabinet fondly known as our “Power 5” members including: Virginia Glass, community volunteer; Lisa Garcia, Sachs Media; Chris Chaney, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners; Dr. Michelle Mitcham, Tallahassee Woman Magazine; and Bill Moor, Capital City Bank.   In addition to our Power 5, Berneice recognized our Loaned Executives for this campaign season including:  Antwan Brooks and Allison Castillo, of HCA Florida Capital Hospital; Ruffian Tyner and Tracey Hollemon of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare; Jennifer Murphy of Thomas Howell Ferguson, and Lauren Helm of MillCreek Financial Consultants.  We are very excited for their contributions to our campaign efforts this year.

Women United Chair, Angie Sipple, was joined by Board Secretary and Women’s Leadership Breakfast Co-Chairs, Sally Bradshaw, and Kim Campo, in announcing the keynote speaker for the November 16th Women’s Leadership Breakfast being held at the Dunlap Champions Club at the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium.  The speaker this year will be Lauren Bush Lauren, founder and Chief Brand Officer of FEED, an impact-driven lifestyle brand whose mission is to create good products that help feed the world.

Again, thank you to everyone who made this year’s special 80th Anniversary Annual Community Meeting a resounding success.  We appreciate each and every one of you!


For the full picture gallery of the Annual Community Meeting, please visit our website at: uwbb.org/dt_gallery/2022-annual-community-meeting-3/.

Keynote Speaker Announced

The sixth annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast will be on Wednesday, November 16th at 8:30 AM, and at our recent Annual Community Meeting, Chair of Women United, Angie Sipple, introduced the dynamic duo spearheading the Women United Women’s Leadership Breakfast this year: Sally Bradshaw and Kim Campo.

Sally and Kim enthusiastically announced the keynote speaker for the annual event being held this year at the Dunlap Champion’s Club at Doak Campbell Stadium. Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder and Chief Brand Officer of FEED, is our much-anticipated keynote speaker.  FEED is a social business and impact-driven lifestyle brand whose mission is to “create good products that help FEED the world”.  Lauren has earned numerous humanitarian awards and speaks around the world on issues focusing on business, philanthropy, hunger and poverty.

In 2004, Lauren was named the honorary student spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Program, a role that carried her to countries throughout the world where she learned about and witnessed wide-scale hunger and poverty.  These experiences led Lauren to act and FEED was founded in 2007.  FEED has since provided over 120 million meals through non-profit giving partners globally and in the US.  “Lauren intends to present a message threaded with the needs of our community and ways to make a difference both as individuals and as a group,” Angie Sipple said.

We are thrilled to have her speaking at our Women’s Leadership Breakfast on November 16th and hope you can join us!  The annual breakfast provides an opportunity to learn about Women United, an initiative of the United Way of the Big Bend that addresses the region’s most critical needs with the aim to lift women, children, and families out of poverty.

To learn more about this year’s Women’s Leadership Breakfast, including sponsorship information, please visit uwbb.org/womensleadership 

2022-2023 Campaign Cabinet Announced

United Way of the Big Bend President and CEO, Berneice Cox, announced our new Campaign Cabinet, also fondly referred to as our “Power 5” for our 2022-2023 campaign season.  Power 5 members are made up of UWBB Board members and other key leaders within the community.  Their role is to lead a dedicated team to achieve overall campaign success.  They act as mentors and provide leadership for the implementation and execution of workplace campaign efforts and strategies.

Our newest cabinet includes:  Lisa Garcia with Sachs Media; Virginia Glass, retired community volunteer; Bill Moor with Capital City Bank; Chris Chaney with The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners; and Dr. Michelle Mitcham with Tallahassee Woman Magazine.

Retired Community Volunteer

Virginia moved to Tallahassee in 1958 and started in real estate in 1965.  Over her long, 52-year career, she was President of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors, named Realtor of the Year twice by her peers; Best Realtor by Tallahassee Magazine, and was top producer for Coldwell Banker Hartung for 15 years.  She has chaired numerous fundraisers including for Refuge House in which she received the “Service Above Self” award from Rotary International for her efforts.  She was a Top Single in 2016 and raised money for Second Harvest continuing her fundraising efforts until 2020 to supplement meals for children.  She is on the board and past chair of Choose Tallahassee and has been a trustee for Tallahassee Memorial Foundation since 1998 and has served as Chair of Fundraising TMH Gala in 2012 and 2013.  She is Director of the Single Adult Department at First Baptist Church.  She served as Campaign Chair for United Way of the Big Bend in 2014, received the Lifetime Leadership Award in 2018 from the Chamber, and was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2019 by the Association of Professionals.

President, Capital City Bank

Capital City Investments, President
Capital City Trust Company, President
Capital City Strategic Wealth, President

Bill began his career at Capital City Bank in 1987 as a methods analyst.  As Capital City Investments President, Bill implemented and manages the retail brokerage service provided by LPL Financial, located in Capital City Bank offices.  In addition, Bill is the President of Capital City Trust Company and Capital City Strategic Wealth.  The three divisions of Capital City Bank comprise over $2 billion in assets under administration and $24 million in revenue.  Capital City Bank is a $4.3 billion publicly traded financial institution headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida which celebrated 125 years in business in 2020.

Bill graduated from the University of Florida and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.  He is also a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee and Leadership Florida.  Bill is an honorary member of Florida Blue Key. He serves on the board for the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority.  Bill is Past Chair of the Economic Club of Florida.  Bill is past chair of the Governor’s Club and the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.  Bill also is past chair and serves on the executive committee for the Trust Division for the Florida Banker’s Association.  He serves on both the finance committee for St. John’s Episcopal Church and the board of St. John’s Episcopal Church Foundation.  Bill is a member of Capital Tiger Bay Club and the Tallahassee Exchange Club.

Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Sachs Media

Emmy Award-winning producer and nationally recognized as a Top Woman Honoree for Mentors by PRNews, Lisa Garcia has nearly two decades of agency experience. Her expertise lies in producing state and national public-purpose initiatives, strategic communications, and leadership in implementing public relations, public affairs, and crisis management initiatives. She is the lead strategist on Sachs Media’s work for such state and national clients as the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, Capital Health Plan, The Nature Conservancy, and BlueTriton Brands. In 2019, she was the lead strategist for Rebuild Florida and led an award-winning statewide public education campaign on the long-term recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma, as well as a campaign on voter security and disinformation for the Florida Department of State. In addition to the United Way of the Big Bend, she is also on the boards of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the American Heart Association. Before joining Sachs Media, she directed campaigns for nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C. She has extensive experience in partnership building, television production, media placement, branding and marketing, and event planning. She lives in Tallahassee with her husband, Joe, son Joseph, and daughter Victoria.

The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners

A veteran of Florida’s legislative and appropriations process, Chris Chaney joined The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners after having served at the highest levels of State government. Now a partner in the firm, Chris lead’s TAGCP’s health care practice. In doing so, Chris represents clients before the Florida Legislature and state government, ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to statewide trade associations and non-profits. In addition to health care, Chris’ practice includes representing clients in the insurance, energy, and regulated industries sectors.

Prior to joining TAGCP, Chris served as Legislative Affairs Director at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). In that role, Chris was AHCA’s chief lobbyist on all policy and appropriations issues before the legislature, including the licensure and regulation of all health care facilities in Florida, as well as operation of the Florida Medicaid program.

During his work AHCA, Chris also served the as Acting Chief of Staff to the Secretary. While acting as Chief of Staff, Chris assisted the Secretary in all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Agency, including management of AHCA’s 1600 employees and $24 Billion operating budget.

Chris grew up in Southwest Florida on Sanibel Island, and now resides in Tallahassee with his wife Ashley, and their daughters Penelope (7) and Charlotte (4).

Psychotherapist & Founder of Tallahassee Woman Magazine

Member of Leadership Tallahassee LT Fierce 40 and the FSU Jim Moran Institute’s Small Business Executive Program, Class XVII, is thrilled to empower women, teams and individuals with strategies for success in both the workplace and relationships. As CEO of Courageous Conversations, a consulting practice, Dr, Mitcham coaches on leadership, communication, workplace resiliency, emotional intelligence, relationship building, women’s empowerment, diversity, equity and inclusion, conflict resolution, and facilitates team building. She has experience as a professor of clinical mental health counseling as well as a facilitator, family mediator, and a psychotherapist, empowering teams, individuals, couples, and leaders.

Dr. Mitcham executes solution-focused success coaching for relationships, mindfulness, divorce, wellness, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), effective leadership, communication, conflict-resolution, and collaboration. She is the President and Publisher of the Tallahassee Woman Magazine. Dr. Mitcham is honored to serve on the board of United Way of the Big Bend, as well as Synovus Bank, Tallahassee, and has been recognized as a community leader by Oasis Center for Women and Girls,  the Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know in 2020, a 2022 Leading Lady by Young Actors Theater, and Media Mogul by the AAIM, African Americans in Media Awards. She is married to Dr. Kerry McCord and they have five children.

WHY Podcast Launch

On Wednesday, September 7th, we enthusiastically launched our new podcast series WHY.  Join us for our bi-monthly episodes where guests share with our host, President & CEO, Berneice Cox, their personal why’s: the why’s in many facets of our guests’ lives.  Why do we do the things we do for our family, for ourselves, and for our community?  Berneice delves into her guest’s personal why’s and discovers their motivation for doing the work that they do.  If you need inspiration, join us to find out what drives ordinary people to do extraordinary things for people in our community.  Tune in to the Why Podcast on Wednesdays to get you through the week.  Episodes 1 and 2 are now available on all major podcast platforms and on our uwbb.org website at:  https://uwbb.org/podcast/

Beginning this month with our United Way THIS WEEK September issue, we will have a new segment called “In Your Words” where we will share with you what our community stakeholders including donors, volunteers, program partners, and program recipients are saying about us, United Way of the Big Bend.  At our Annual Community Meeting on September 14th, we placed cards on the tables so guests could give us their personal WHY’s.  We are happy to share these with you going forward in every issue of our newsletter, so that you, too, can enjoy the Why’s of our fellow community members – anonymously, of course.  So, we can know WHY, Together We Are Doing More!



Second Harvest of the Big Bend


September is Hunger Action Month and we have been participating throughout September by partnering with our funded partner agency, Second Harvest of the Big Bend, collecting critical needs items like canned and dried fruit.  When we asked the attendees at our Annual Community Meeting to please bring a food item with them to the event, we were overwhelmed by the response.  Thanks to the attendees, we were able to collect 384 pounds of food at the event and will continue to collect food items through the end of September at our office located at 307 E. 7th Avenue in Tallahassee.

When CEO, Monique Ellsworth, of Second Harvest of the Big Bend was asked what our partnership means, she said, “United Way was the first organization to answer our call when covid hit, to stand with us, to help us overcome insurmountable (it felt like it in that moment) issues that occurred for us an organization, and Berneice and the team at the United Way was a group that we knew we could immediately turn to for support.  They’re supportive and they’re encouraging.  They provide a language that we can all speak collectively about what our community looks like; what need looks like in our community with their ALICE report.  I find them a huge resource in a number of ways.”


We’re happy to share with you some exciting news for one of our newest members of our Board of Directors, Lisa Garcia.  Please read the great news in the press release shared with us and join us in congratulating Lisa on this wonderful achievement.

Sachs Media Partner and COO Lisa Garcia Named Among Nation’s Top Women in PR for Mentoring


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sachs Media Partner and Chief Operating Officer Lisa Garcia has been named one of the 2022 Top Women in PR nationally by PR News for excellence as a Mentor, reflecting her role as a major contributor to the firm’s success by recruiting and cultivating young professionals.

Among her work as a leader at Sachs Media, Florida’s foremost independent communications firm, Garcia spearheads the firm’s recruitment and retention efforts. She was one of just 15 women around the nation to earn the PR News mentoring honor, which will be presented at a Sept. 7 gala in New York City.

“Lisa is a gift to all who work with her, so it’s especially meaningful that she is being honored for her work mentoring the next generation of professionals,” said Sachs Media President Michelle Ubben. “She not only produces outstanding results for our clients, but she teaches team members by word and example how to deliver outstanding client service and create impactful campaigns.”

Garcia is an Emmy Award-winning producer with expertise in the production of state and national public-purpose initiatives, strategic communications, and leadership in implementing public relations, public affairs, and crisis management initiatives, as well as overall project management. Prior to joining Sachs Media in 2005, she directed campaigns for nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from Frostburg State University in Maryland.

At the PR News awards gala, the publication will be honoring individuals in a number of categories, including Mentoring, Change-Makers, Entrepreneurs, Industry Innovators, and Rising Stars. PR news describes itself as the leading source of information, education, recognition, and data for Fortune 1000 professionals, agencies and government/non-profits. For over 75 years, it has been dedicated to supporting the growth of communicators and marketers, all while keeping them abreast of the latest news affecting their industries.



At the Leon County Public Schools news conference held on August 2nd at Raa Middle School, Superintendent Rocky Hanna discussed community partnerships & made a call for volunteers. He talked about the value of volunteering in the schools.  Our UWBB President & CEO, Berneice Cox, was invited to speak about our ReadingPals program in Title I schools which supports Pre-K to 3rd grade students providing trained volunteer mentors who give early intervention & individualized attention to students needing extra help learning to read.  Recruiting additional volunteers to reach our goal of having 150 ReadingPals’ mentors in schools this year, Berneice joined Superintendent Hanna; Raa Middle School administrators; Kelli Walker, LCS District Volunteer Coordinator; City Manager, Reese Goad – a recently recruited ReadingPals volunteer; City of Tallahassee Police Chief Revell; Chief of Fire, Jerome Gaines; and additional City administrators and LCS Communications & Media Relations, Chris Petley.  We value our partnership with LCS and look forward to another successful school year together.

As of today, we are well on our way to having a wonderful school year and of reaching our goal of having 150 ReadingPals mentors this year as well as an increase in MathPals mentors in a greater number of Title I schools.


Please join us in welcoming Samantha Sager to our team.  Samantha joins us with strong education and management experience, and wonderful people skills. She has worked the last five years in Title 1 public schools as a classroom teacher and as a site coordinator for the 21st Century after school educational enrichment program.  She brings a solid knowledge of the school system and after school opportunities and resources. She has worked with a variety of families, administrators, and other educators.  Highly organized, a believer in data, and a firm commitment to the importance of community engagement in creating a better community for all.  Empathic, experienced, and enthusiastic about our mission.

Samantha, welcome to our team!

Women Leadership Breakfast November 16, 2022

Dunlap Champions Club at FSU (formerly known as the University Center Club). Doors open at 8:00 am.

Emerging Leaders’ Lip Sync Battle
Coming in Mid-October! Watch for details on our social channels!

October 24th – October 28th
week-long event in local schools

25th Annual Golf Classic
Friday, April 28th, 2023
Southwood Golf Club