Plant City placed 79 out of 100 based on workplace contributions to United Way.
United Way Suncoast has named the City of Plant City among its top 100 most generous workplaces for 2017.
Plant City ranked 79 out of 100 in the annual listing of organizations that make the largest philanthropic contributions to United Way Suncoast, which covers DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. As an organization, United Way’s goal to “to break the cycle of generational poverty through educational programs for children; building financial strengths and skills for adults; volunteer activation and support in a crisis,” according to the organization.
Plant City ranked fourth among municipalities, coming in behind Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, which ranked 1, 35 and 36, respectively. Sarasota came in at 95. Plant City is
also the smallest of the five cities with a population under 40,000. Sarasota has around 56,000, Clearwater 114,000, St. Petersburg 260,000 and Tampa 377,000, according to the Census Bureau.
With total contributions of around $23,000, Plant City’s contributions made a significant difference in United Way’s year and in the lives of those it serves, Melissa Miller, corporate relations manager for United Way Suncoast, said. Miller presented City Manager Bill McDaniel with a certificate acknowledging the city’s efforts during Monday’s commission meeting.
“It’s huge,” Miller said. “Twenty-three thousand. That’s a huge impact.”
Miller said the significance of such contributions was most felt in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Irma hit much of United Way Suncoast’s coverage area when it tore through Florida in September, devastating homes and leaving many without power for weeks.
“It opened our eyes to empathy and community again,” Miller said. “I saw people pulling together barbecues to make sure their neighbors had food. I saw that we were able to release emergency funds back into the communities, specifically to the food bank to get their stocks reshelved for families that were still struggling.”
United Way Suncoast publishes the rankings annually to honor and acknowledge companies that have the largest impact.
“These workplaces have donated generously to our programs, and equally importantly, they have fostered a culture of caring among employees,” United Way Suncoast CEO Suzanne McCormick said. “We couldn’t make a difference as an organization without the support of each and every individual donor and workplace that gives.”
Much of the contributions come directly from employees through payroll deductions, according to the United Way.
“We’re proud of our employees for meeting that cause and ranking so high,” Mayor Rick Lott said. “We’re very proud of their humble hearts.”