CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - At United Way of Central Carolinas they understand the economy still leaves people a little uncertain about their finances.
"We know people are giving a little less and they're giving to fewer agencies. We're so thankful that United Way continues to be one of them," said executive director Jane McIntyre.
Last year the United Way outpaced it's goal by 5%. This year they only expect a modest increase so they've set the goal at $21.2 million.
"We were amazed that United Way donors helped us beat our goal by 5 percent last year, but raising the bar higher for 2012 means sustaining that 5 percent and then adding to that," said Jane McIntyre, United Way's executive director. "We believe this goal will help us keep momentum and address vital community needs, but is also sensitive to the local economy."
Some companies, in addition to their monetary contributions, are giving more tangible donations to specific agencies served by the United Way.
Belk is one of those companies. Last year company leaders donated 2,000 school uniforms to children in Mecklenburg County whose families might otherwise not be able to afford them.
This year they'll donate a total of 3,300 uniforms to Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union Counties.
"It is so tough to get educated even when you have all of the tools and resources you need, so for us this is a perfect match and doing this just has been great," said Adam Orvos, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Belk.
Now other companies are giving non traditional gifts too. Ikea is giving reading nooks to several non profits united way serves. Whole Foods donated a learning room at a childcare center.
"All of this just removes one small barrier to making life easier for people who need it. It is great to have a goal and now we just have to work at it. In fact, we've already started," McIntyre said.
This is the official kickoff to the United Way campaign. Some of the 800 companies who will run fundraising campaigns have already started, while others will begin in the coming weeks.
For more information about the United Way of Central Carolinas 2012 Campaign, click here.