United Way of Allegheny County announced they have raised more than $32.3 million in the 2011 annual campaign. That is a 1.6% increase from last year. The total exceeded their goal of surpassing the $31.8 million raised the previous year.
Campaign co-chairs David J. Malone, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gateway Financial Group, and Art Rooney II, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers, revealed the total at the Annual Campaign Celebration this week.
The money raised allows the United Way to offer aid to people in the community with three key initiatives: helping children and youth, supporting financially struggling families, and ensuring the health and safety of seniors and the disabled.
Bob Nelkin, President of United Way of Allegheny County, said long-standing relationships in the community proved to be very beneficial to the campaign. "People know each other for years and years and they know someone who is struggling financially, or they know a senior who's living alone and trying to be healthy and independent, or they know a family with disabilities. It's a pretty caring atmosphere in Pittsburgh," said Nelkin.
Although the nation is currently enduring tough economic times, the United Way of Allegheny County has seen an increase in fundraising for its campaign that runs annually from September to April. Other United Way chapters across the country have experienced a substantial decrease.
The local campaign has seen the largest growth in donations from affinity groups. Nelkin said it has been the women donors that have shown the most support this year. "We had 20% more than last year, so it's grown astronomically, and in a lot of ways women donors are the engine for philanthropy generally and for United Way," Nelkin said.
Campaigns conducted by the United Way reach more than 60,000 donors and 750 companies. Smaller businesses have been making a large impact, with 39 new businesses starting campaigns this year. More than 300 new donors have contributed in excess of $100,000 in this year's fundraiser.