The United Way Suncoast team at the Centennial Celebration Kickoff on January 10.

Founded a century ago, United Way Suncoast began serving Tampa with the creation of the Tampa Welfare League and Community Chest on January 10, 1924. During the last 100 years, it has elevated community cohesion, early learning, literacy and financial success within the five counties it serves in the Tampa Bay area.

On January 10, United Way Suncoast kicked off a centennial 18-month celebration at Tampa City Hall. The year-and-a-half celebration includes a series of events for the Tampa Bay community to commemorate the 100-year milestone. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor started the ceremony with a proclamation declaring January 10, 2024, as United Way Suncoast Day.

United Way Suncoast CEO Jessica Muroff addressed the crowd during the Centennial Celebration Kickoff. 

“At United Way Suncoast, we often speak about giving families and community members the ‘freedom to rise,’” Muroff said. “Giving people the ‘freedom to rise’ means providing community members platforms to enhance their place in this world.”

Muroff shared that United Way Suncoast’s success stories stem from a collaborative effort involving corporate contributors, individual donors, volunteers and nonprofit partners. Members of these nonprofit partners attended the kickoff celebration: the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, the American Red Cross, the YMCA and the Tampa Urban League.

The kickoff ceremony concluded with the raising of the United Way Suncoast flag over Tampa City Hall with chief communications officer Ernest Hooper leading the crowd expressing the United Say Suncoast mantra, “United We Rise, United We Win.”

Hooper shared that Unity Way Suncoast engaged with half a million community members in their five-county region in 2023 and that engagement reached more than 50,000 people in East Hillsborough County. He said their mission work concentrates on elevating early learning and literacy, energizing middle school and high school students to put them on a path to postsecondary success and empowering community members and families through financial stability.

In 2024, Suncoast United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will provide free tax assistance to any household that earns $79,000 or less, Hooper said. For assistance locations or to learn more about the VITA program, visit

For information about the events planned for the 18-month celebration, visit

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