United Way surpasses goal

United Way of Central Alberta is celebrating raising $2.1 million during its 2012 campaign, surpassing its goal of $1.99 million.

United Way of Central Alberta is celebrating raising $2.1 million during its 2012 campaign, surpassing its goal of $1.99 million.

The amount raised, $2,115,067, was unveiled on Thursday at the end of a video rolling out an escalation of dollar figures while volunteers, supporters and staff watched at the Red Deer’s Golden Circle.

Organizers said they were pleased, calling it an astounding amount raised. The total collected in Central Alberta was nine per cent more, or $183,067 over last year’s $1,932,000 figure.

Campaign co-chair Buck Buchanan said it was a rewarding and successful campaign.

“It’s a great number!” said Buchanan. “No matter the number, the need is always great. There are 30-plus programs that it supports. We can’t just sit back.”

Buchanan said that everyone has to push for United Way support because a lot of people in the community think they don’t have to contribute because United Way is “going to be OK.”

“This is for Central Alberta,” said Buchanan.

Robert Mitchell, CEO of the United Way of Central Alberta, said the organization supports 35 agencies.

The region stretches from Ponoka to Olds and Sundre, and from Nordegg to Stettler.

Each agency supported has a focus in one of three areas — education, wellness or income.

“This achievement will allow us to invest more money into Central Alberta, which will change more lives and further support our community needs,” said Mitchell. “It’s still difficult to fund everyone because we have more demand than supply.”

One new initiative is three-year funding being handed out within the sector that concentrates on children.

“It gives them stable funding and allows them to get deep into the issues,” Mitchell said. “It allows children to get to their full potential.”

United Way also credits its first Leadership Matching Challenge for some of its success this year.

MNP tax firm, Canadian Tire North and Warren Sinclair LLP pledged more than $22,000 to match any new or increased personal donations of $1,000 or more, known as a Leadership gift. This challenge accumulated more than $100,000 towards the campaign.

Donald Sinclair of Warren Sinclair law firm representatives said they were happy to sponsor the challenge because they were aware that many people are struggling in hard economic times and the firm wanted to reach out to help people with issues beyond their control.

Prior to announcing the campaign’s achievement, volunteers, donors and businesses were on hand to accept employee participation and campaign achievement awards centred around the campaign.

“Without the hundreds of people who are so dedicated to the work United Way does in our community, this achievement would not have been possible,” said Buchanan.