Every year, United Way of York Region crowns a fearless leader to oversee our annual fundraising campaign. A challenging and exciting role, the Campaign Chair needs to be focused, passionate and community-minded; which is why this year’s candidate is such a perfect fit. Barbara Bellissimo, Chief Agent and Senior Vice President, State Farm Canada, is not only business savvy, she embraces change and is driven to make a difference.

 “People tend to think that there is never a need right in their own neighbourhood,” Barbara states. “But the need here is real. Given the size of our region and the rate that we are growing, the work of United Way and its partners is more important than ever.”

Since joining State Farm Canada in 1986, Barbara has successfully managed positions of increased responsibility for underwriting, training and field sales consulting. In her current role, she provides strategic leadership and oversees the sales and operations in Canada. Committed to her community, Barbara has volunteered on United Way York Region’s campaign cabinet for two years, most recently co-chairing the 2011 campaign. As such, she has taken the opportunity to visit the agencies in our area and has witnessed first-hand, the tremendous work that is being done.

 “I am continually inspired by the hard work and commitment that is demonstrated by United Way of York Region,” Barbara begins. “I feel honoured to volunteer my time for an organization that supports a diverse set of agencies that, in turn, directly help so many people in our community.”

 Barbara is also proud to be aligned with a company that has a long-standing partnership with United Way. State Farm Canada is a dedicated corporate donor and runs an internal fundraising campaign, which in 2011 raised over $248,000. The organization also participates in our Sponsored Employee program, where for 16-weeks a full-time staff member leaves their daily duties and works with United Way to support 250 York Region workplace campaigns. State Farm continues to pay their salary and benefits during this period of time. With such commitment and dedication, one wonders what Barbara has in store for the 2012 United Way fundraising campaign.

 “Planning for the next campaign is currently underway.” Barbara says. “I was blown away by the amount raised in 2011 and feel confident that our 2012 campaign will be even more successful. I am aware of the challenges our community faces and I am determined to do all I can to assist United Way in their mission to help those around us.”


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