United Way exceeds goal, sets new record

United Way exceeds goal, sets new record

CHAMPAIGN — Local donors dug deep and helped the United Way of Champaign County exceed its $3.3 million fundraising goal this year.

The organization has finalized its 2012 campaign, and it raised $3,486,000, a new record, its leaders say.

That means the United Way can fulfill its second-year funding commitment to 67 programs at 37 local service agencies for the fiscal year that started July 1, United Way President and CEO Sue Grey said.

"Honestly, that was my biggest worry: Would we be able to make these contract obligations to our partners?" she told The News-Gazette.

This month, the United Way started its second year of a two-year funding cycle with its partner agencies, and its board approved the second-year contracts last month, Grey said.

The past 12 months have marked changes in leadership for the United Way, with interim CEO Tony Clements taking over in the early months of the 2012 campaign and Grey coming on board last November, but Grey said a great board and staff helped keep the organization and its annual fund drive on course during the transitions.

And she said the community once again did its part. The local United Way has met its campaign goal for six years in a row.

"It really is this community," she said. "They know how important it is to pull together and help people in need," Grey said.

Contributing to the campaign total were employees from more than 230 businesses that took part in workplace giving campaigns.

The United Way identified the 20 top workplaces in total money raised as: Carle Foundation Hospital, University of Illinois, Busey Bank, Christie Clinic, City of Champaign, Intel Corp., Kraft Foods, AmerenIP, Jeld-Wen, Parkland College, The Downey Group Inc., Caterpillar Logistics Services, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, BankChampaign, Martin, Hood, Friese & Associates, LyondellBasell, Rockwell Automation/AllenBradley Co., Presence Covenant Medical Center, Combined Federal Campaign and The News-Gazette.

The United Way also said a record number of labor unions gave this past year, and they increased their giving by 13 percent.

Grey said the money raised over the goal helps fund some of the United Ways' other projects, including a family emergency shelter pilot project launched in February and connecting to the United Way 2-1-1 network to provide this three-digit, non-emergency number to link people to community information and services.

Its 2013 campaign co-chairs will be announced Aug. 1, and the new campaign will be kicked off Aug. 29.

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