United Way Board Announces Berneice Cox as New President/CEO
The United Way of the Big Bend (UWBB) board today announced local business owner and long-serving volunteer Berneice Cox as its new President and CEO effective January 1, 2020.
“We conducted a comprehensive search for the very best leader and found it in Berneice Cox,” said UWBB Board Chair Darrick D. McGhee, Sr. “As a local business owner who has led public policy, community relations and strategic planning, her skills are a perfect fit. In addition, Berniece has a long history of service in this community including Chair of the UWBB board, serving on various steering committees and in implementing our new funding plan that brings a laser-focused, data-driven approach to making a real difference in families in our community. Her passion and commitment are unsurpassed,” he added.
Cox has served as the founder and CEO of The Bacall Group since 2008. It included public policy work that resulted in multi-million dollar appropriations for key legislative clients serving Florida’s poverty populations and collaborating and advising clients and their respective Board of Directors. Since 2013 she has produced and hosted a television show on NBC TV-40 addressing important community issues. She also has previous experience as the government relations director for a state-wide law firm, as legislative affairs director for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and as an adjunct professor at Florida State University. She has a bachelor of science degree from Tusculum University in Greenville, Tennessee.
“The work of the United Way has tremendous meaning to me,” said Cox. “I was one of seven children who grew up working on the family farm, and I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I later became a part of the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population as a single, divorced mother trying to provide for my family. I understand the struggle to make ends meet while trying to put food on the table, pay rent and utilities. These are issues I know families and neighbors in Tallahassee and the Big Bend are struggling with every day and I am excited to lead the United Way of the Big Bend in our ongoing work to change the cycle of poverty.”
“When I first agreed to serve as the interim president, it was from a heart of service to an agency I love because of the difference we make in the community,” said Cox. “When the board asked if I would consider applying as the permanent president, it only fueled my commitment to this organization. We have an outstanding board, literally hundreds of volunteers, and a staff that understands that what they do every day impacts lives. I can’t imagine a better team to work with across the spectrum.”
In her work as UWBB President/CEO, Cox will be responsible for driving the key results in fundraising and implementing the organization’s new strategic shift. Her work will lead to documented
results and outcomes that address poverty and those on the edge of poverty. Cox will be responsible for building trust in the United Way and its relevance in the community and is charged with being a highly visible and effective spokesperson for the United Way.
UWBB is in the midst of its annual campaign, where the needs of the community are greater than ever before. Donations to the campaign help fund programs designed to prevent the working poor from slipping into poverty, and also changing the cycle of poverty. “This time of the year, we see the need of families across the community,” said Cox. “By giving to the United Way, your contributions can make a difference throughout 2020 and in the lives of our families and children all year long.”
Residents interested in supporting the United Way of the Big Bend can visit the website at UWBB.org.