Central Albertans dug deep and raised more than $2.2 million for the United Way of Central Alberta’s 2015 fundraising campaign.
The grand total — $2,264,934 — was announced at the annual Touchdown Breakfast, hosted by the Radisson Hotel, on Thursday.
That’s close to the record broken in 2014 when $2,304,062 came in.
Robert Mitchell, United Way executive director, said during a tough economy, $2.2 million is an amazing achievement.
“Obviously we were very nervous about it and to raise this much money — it’s more than we raised in 2013 — and we’re going to be able to continue our support to the agencies that we currently support,” Mitchell said on Thursday.
It also opens up education programs to new funding.
2015 marked 50 years for United Way of Central Alberta and high expectations for the year ended up clashing with a worsening economy, he said.
“But I think this achievement is really quite significant considering the economic impacts that we’ve had. We’ve managed to grow a lot over the last 10 years. Let’s hope the next 10 years there will be even more growth.”
He said workplace campaigns are the backbone of the annual campaign. They raise 80 per cent of the money.
“Really they’re the guys that do the work. Some of these workplace campaigns had reduced (staff). The employees left behind really rallied, really stepped up.”
Mitchell said 2016 campaign will likely be a challenge, but based on 2015’s results, there’s confidence that people will recognize needs go up when the economy dips.
“We have a very community-minded Central Alberta population here who seem to be very focused on helping the community.”
People also have a lot of fun with the campaign and that’s exactly what the United Way wants, Mitchell said.
2015 campaign co-chair Craig Curtis said the United Way focused on asking more people to consider giving instead of asking them to give more, and result was that people did whatever they could.
“We’re grateful for every single dollar that was contributed.”
The top three workplace contributors to the campaign were Nova Chemicals, DOW/MEGlobal and Alberta Health Services.
Community Builder Awards for Sustained Growth went to Scotiabank and Canada Revenue Agency.
Farm Credit Canada along with GE Oil and Gas received Community Builder Awards for Significant Growth. The Welcome Aboard Award went to Stantec.