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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
United Way of Central Carolinas has raised $18.6 million of its fundraising goal of $21.2 million for 2012.
This puts the annual campaign at 88 percent of goal with just over a month to go.
Based on early returns from corporate campaigns that began in the fall, United Way's projected shortfall was at $1 million as of mid-November, then $750,000 in mid-December.
As of Jan. 10, at the current pace of donations, the campaign is projected at $499,963 away from its goal.
Strategies put in motion since the November projections include outreach to businesses new to the region, presentations at the leadership level in key businesses, board members making strategic calls to previous donors, and increased community awareness. The additional steps are closing the gap.
"The good news is that the gap is steadily shrinking – we've made significant progress in each of the last two months," said Jane McIntyre, United Way's executive director. "But with only five weeks left until our traditional Valentine's Day deadline, the current pace would still come up short. We've had a handful of great surprises in the last month – now we need a few more."
Among the recent surprises:
After hearing news accounts about the campaign shortfall, PNC Bank delivered a check for $50,000 to United Way this week. The check was in addition to its employee campaign.
In its first gift to United Way since coming to Charlotte, UTC Aerospace Systems contributed $25,000, also over and above its employee campaign.
QuikTrip Corp., which recently opened a number of gasoline/convenience stores in the region, raised $87,304 in its first campaign for United Way of Central Carolinas – half from employee donations, half from a corporate match.
Two individual first-time donors – one who recently relocated from out of state, the other a walk-in to United Way's new Cabarrus office in downtown Concord – contributed $20,000.
"Both of the check walk-ins were completely unexpected, great surprises," said McIntyre. "And the fact that new arrivals to the Charlotte region are donating five-figure amounts is a wonderful sign for both our local economy and United Way's direction.
"We're thankful for these new companies, new individuals, and all the consistent, year-over-year donors who we cannot take for granted. To close the remaining gap, we're going to have to keep getting the word out to all three groups."
Also this month, Cato Corp. contributed $300,000 for an endowment for United Way's new Collective Impact initiative to help at-risk children succeed in school and reach graduation – the most generous investment yet in Collective Impact. The endowment will fund professional development and training for employees of United Way partner agencies who provide services in early learning and K-12 after-school and summer academic support programs.
As a United Way Legacy Foundation gift – in which the $300,000 is preserved to generate annual funding in perpetuity – the amount is not counted toward United Way's goal, maintaining the campaign spotlight on funds that can be allocated to local United Way agencies in the current year.
The generosity of more than 50,000 United Way donors last year is helping over 350,000 women, men and children this year, but community needs are rising across United Way's three focus areas: Children & Youth, Housing & Stability, and Health & Mental Health. For details, review United Way's new annual report at www.uwcentralcarolinas.org/2012-annual-report.
For those not already participating in a United Way campaign, or those wishing to give more to help meet the goal, gifts can be made online at www.uwcentralcarolinas.org/give, or by calling 704-371-6392 to receive a pledge card in the mail.