What started as a trickle of positive news in 2010 for the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has turned into a cascade.
United Way officials jubilantly announced Tuesday that the organization raised $14 million in its most recent campaign – its highest tally since 2008 and its largest percentage increase in giving from one year to the next in more than a decade.
“The United Way has decisively reversed a 10-year trend of declining revenues,” declared Steve Finch, chairman of the United Way Board of directors, at a breakfast gathering in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
The 2012 campaign exceeded a goal of $13.7 million by more than $300,000.
The total raised – $14,033,752 – was 3.1 percent more than the $13.6 million contributed in the 2011 campaign.
The campaign was buoyed by strong growth in corporate giving, as well as an increase in individual gifts of at least $10,000.
The county organization had experienced years of decline since 2001, with donations falling off at an average rate of $700,000 per year.
In 2010, the campaign posted its first year-to-year increase in giving in a decade, raising $13.3 million – or $27,118 more than the previous year. The tiny growth began a trend that is now in its third year for the organization, which funds 85 health and human services programs in Erie County.
The campaign in 2011 grew by about 2 percent, to $13.57 million, exceeding a goal of $13.5 million.
“The biggest difference is this is no longer a blip,” said United Way President Michael Weiner. “This is three consecutive years.”
Another large fundraising effort, the annual Catholic Charities Appeal that ends June 30, also is on pace to meet its goal of $10.7 million. The appeal so far has generated $9.7 million in cash and pledges, about 91 percent of the goal.