United Way fund drive hits historic heights

It was a job well done for Central Albertan superheroes.

It was a job well done for Central Albertan superheroes.

The United Way of Central Alberta made history on Thursday morning when it announced its four-month fundraising drive had raised $2,201,193.

It’s first time the long-standing campaign has surpassed $2.2 million.

“We are just absolutely thrilled,” United Way CEO Robert Mitchell said. “We can do so much more in the community now and help even more people in Central Alberta.”

While falling slightly short of the $2.25 million goal, the total represents an increase of four per cent or $86,126 over last year’s achievement of $2.115 million (leaving the 2012 fall campaign goal of $1.95 million in the dust).

Staying true to this year’s theme that everyone can be a superhero by supporting the community, volunteer campaign co-chairs Buck Buchanan and Dustin Sundby ripped open their button-up business shirts, Hulk-style, to reveal the final tally during the unveiling event Thursday morning in Red Deer.

“Asking organizations and executives for money isn’t easy and we couldn’t have done it without our great team,” Sundby said, also thanking sponsor groups that stepped up this year, including Shell Canada and Nova Chemicals, as well as new leadership donors such as Peter and Kathy Lacey and Jack and Joan Donald of Red Deer.

Mitchell said the funds will go directly back into the community, supporting over 30 agencies and programs throughout Central Alberta.

Specifically, the money boosts the organization’s dedication to the education sector, to “help kids reach their full potential,” as well as its income priority area, striving to combat the cycle of poverty, Mitchell said.

He credits the large total to a “great team of volunteers” who worked tirelessly to build on last year’s success and “get more and more people” involved.

“It’s a very generous community … I think our message is resonating with more people.”

Kristin Mountain, one of the staff who worked on the campaign, didn’t even know what the total was when she arrived on Thursday morning.

She went on maternity leave in December and was anxious to find out how the team did.

“With the board and committee, there was at least 40 of us working on this and I’m so happy with the end result. This is what we want to see, an increase each year,” Mountain said.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

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