City Beat [New Miami magazine]
by Hope Katz Gibbs
New Miami magazine
Design by Kevin Jolliffe
TRYING AGAIN AT UNITED WAY
Last year’s United Way campaign pulled in $21.6million-a hefty sum, but $400,000 less than the 1988 total. The campaign also fell $2.4 million short of its declared goal of $24 million-a shortfall largely blamed on the financial woes of major past contributors, including Eastern Airlines, Burdines and Jordan Marsh.
This year’s chairman of the United Way campaign, beer distributor Carlos do la Cruz, is determined to avoid another year-to-year decline. Even though the campaign does not officially begin until next month, de la Cruz has been working since January to round up support for the 1990 drive.
When it comes to discussing this year’s goal, however, de la Cruz gets a little defensive.
“Goals are a management technique used to motivate staff,” says de la Cruz, president of Eagle Brands Inc., the sole Miami-area distributor of Budweiser, Michelob and other Anheuser-Busch brands. “A goal is not a budget. If you look at the 50 largest campaigns [in the U.S.] last year, 23 did not meet their goals.”
De la Cruz will have plenty of help. A group of 26 business executives-including Tony Romero of IBM, Tony Ridder of Knight-Ridder Inc. and Abel Holtz of Capital Bank-have volunteered to act as field marshals in this year’s campaign. They will help solicit the 391 companies in Dade County that contributed at least $5,000 last year.
Those 391 companies represent a tiny fraction of all companies in Dade, but they contributed 92 percent of the proceeds from last year’s campaign.
“On average, each donated $65,QW,” says de la Cruz. “it is much more efficient to go after the companies that have contributed before rather than look to the entire business community of more than 50,000 businesses.”
Last year the private donors who contributed most were Southern Bell and Florida Power & Light, each gave $1.6 million. Ryder System Inc. donated $1 million. In the public sector, Dade County municipal employees and employees of the Dade County School System contributed $1.4 million each.
When this year’s campaign ends in November, the job of distributing the money begins for United Way Campaign President Tanya Glazebrook. Under a new allocation approach, Glazebrook will work more closely with other public agencies to identify community needs. She says the new approach will mean more United Way dollars for programs that combat child abuse, illiteracy and drug addiction.
“We realized that in a lot of cases, the United Way was giving money to charities that already get money from Metro-Dade County or the Department of Human Rehabilitative Services,” says Glazebrook. “We are taking a more pro-active approach, sifting down with organizations which also give money, to see where the additional funds are needed.”
CABLES ACROSS THE CARIBBEAN
“Mr. Watson. Come at once. I want you,” Alexander Graham Bell reportedly said upon inventing the telephone in 1876. He had spilt battery acid down his pant leg and needed help. Nearly 125 years later, with the help of AT&T’s TCS- I fiber optic cable, Bell’s invention is linking continents.
A June 14 conference marked the christening of the 2,800 miles of shark-proof cable, which now lies beneath the Caribbean and connects South Florida, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Miami mayor Xavier Suarez greeted the group of 50 AT&T officials and press who gathered outdoors at Bayside Marketplace for the linking party. Don Smith, AT&T regional managing director for Latin America, warmed up the crowd with the significance of the event.
“To give you an idea of what the capacity of the TCS-1 represents, the cable could convey all the text in a 32-volume set of the Encyclopedia Britannica from Miami to San Juan in 12 seconds,” he says. “So, if all the calls AT&T handled 63 years ago in its first year of international service were placed on the cable at once, there would still be room for another 7,000 calls—and they would be a lot clearer, hundreds of times cheaper and far easier to place than in 1927.”
Finally, Rod Sturm, regional managing director of AT&T’s North America International Communications Services, made like Alex Bell and intoned the first international conference call. “Hello to everyone on the line,” Sturm said.
Despite the foreplay, some of the replies to Sturm were nearly inaudible. The connection to Jamaica was garbled, voices from Colombia sounded choppy. The Dominican Republic call was clear, as was the Puerto Rico connection—although a plane overhead drowned the transmission for a moment.
“It was not the connection that was the problem, it was a less than adequate public address system,” says Barry Johnson, regional manager for AT&T’s corporate affairs. “We were trying to control that, but the [outdoor] environment wasn’t really controllable. There was no problem with the connection. That was clear as a bell.”
Well, at least no acid was spilt.