Updated: United Way tops goal with months to spare

CHAMPAIGN — The United Way of Champaign County has exceeded its $3.4 million fund-raising goal four months early with the help of some large donations that arrived this week, the agency announced Friday.

The 2013 campaign that got under way last July has raised $3.417 million, and isn't set to close until June 30, according to Mary Noel, associate director of community engagement for the United Way.

It's the eighth year in a row the local United Way has exceeded its fund-raising goal. The results were announced at the United Way's annual meeting Friday in Champaign.

"Our community is just so responsive," said Sue Grey, United Way's president and CEO. "When there is a need or needs, they understand, particularly those that are donating that they have the opportunity to change somebody's life. If it's a dollar, if it's a hundred dollars, it's so impactful."

Boosting the totals, along with support from more than 200 work place giving campaigns, were two six-figure gifts from Carle to support Promise Healthcare and from the Penn State University settlement fund to support child sexual abuse prevention programming, Noel said.

Employee donations through LyondellBasell and Jeld-Wen, received Wednesday, pushed the campaign over the goal, she said.

Recipients of all these donations each year are more than 60 programs at about three dozen service agencies in the local community that apply for funding.

Grey said the United Way received more than $4 million in funding requests for this fund-raising cycle, and allocations will be made later in the spring.

She also says even though the goal has been reached, the campaign isn't over.

"Every dollar raised helps us to do more," she said.

In addition to funding programs at local agencies, Grey said the United Way has initiative it hopes to fund, such as a family emergency shelter.

Last year, the United Way estimates, 73,000 people in Champaign County — one in three in the local community — received services from a United Way funded program.

Also at today's meeting, the United Way announced Mike Haile, general manager of WDWS-WHMS-WKIO Radio, and Maureen Banks, University director of safety and compliance at the University of Illinois Department of Facilities & Services, as the new co-chairmen of the 90th fund-raising campaign set to begin July 1.

The United Way also presented Spirit of Caring awards, the highest honor for volunteerism and philanthropy, to PNC Bank, Pepsi-Cola C-U Bottling Company, and Kim and Denise Martin.

The top 10 United Way workplace giving campaigns, in order:

The University of Illinois

Carle Foundation Hospital

Busey Bank

City of Champaign

Christie Clinic

Intel Corp.

Kraft Foods-Champaign

Ameren Illinois

Parkland College

Schnucks Stores

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