The United Way of Allegheny County filled a ballroom in a downtown hotel Wednesday with supporters and then announced it exceeded its 2012 fundraising goal. The total from the campaign hit $33,211,190, which is 2.7 percent more than last year’s total.
“Our record over the last five years prior to this year is that our community, the Pittsburgh community, has out raised the rest of the nation,” said local United Way President Bob Nelkin. “During that period of time we went up 12.7 percent. The rest of the big United Ways in the nation were down 4.4 percent.”
The money is used to fund the various programs supported by the United Way. Even with the increase, Nelkin said the giving will not cover all of the region’s need.
“We see that through our 2-1-1 call center … we have more than tripled the number of calls per month, and two thirds of those calls are just about housing and utilities alone,” said Nelkin, who noted many of the remainder of the calls are about food and clothing needs.
Donations made through corporate campaigns represent the bulk of the giving to the United Way of Allegheny County. Nelkin said this year almost 750 companies took part in the campaign, and $200,000 dollars came from employees of entities that had not been part of the effort in the past.
But what really sets the region apart, according to Nelkin, is the level of giving among women at the $1,000 level or higher.
“We’ve more than doubled the number of women doing that," he said. "We are the sixth largest in the country and it keeps growing.”
Nelkin thinks a new initiative to help women who find themselves in distress due to life changes will encourage even more giving at that level.
Several awards were handed out at Wednesday’s luncheon, including the 2012 Outstanding Campaign Volunteer, which went to Pittsburgh Steeler Charlie Batch, and the Paul Stackhouse award that goes to a union each year, which went to the United Steel Workers Union Local 3657.