Strong United Way campaign pledged MARYLAND/REGION

June 18, 1993|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Staff Writer

The newly elected chairman of the United Way of Central Maryland board of directors assured volunteers and staff yesterday that he is enthusiastic about this year's annual drive, plagued in recent years by the economy and a national scandal.

"I am entirely enthusiastic about taking on the role at this time," said James T. Brady, the managing partner of Arthur Andersen & Co., who piloted the 1991 campaign. "I am up to the challenge; I will give you everything I have."

The 1992 campaign raised about $31.3 million from private sector employees, down about 10 percent from the $34.5 million raised under Mr. Brady in 1991. Both campaigns were conducted as the United Way's traditional base -- private sector employees -- shrank in the wake of Maryland's recession. More than 14,000 jobs were lost at the drive's 50 largest contributors.

But the 1992 campaign also was conducted under the shadow of the controversy surrounding William Aramony, who resigned from the United Way of America after revelations about his high salary and lavish corporate style. While United Way of America receives relatively little money from local chapters, surveys indicated that it shook some people's faith in the local campaigns.

At yesterday's annual meeting, Mr. Brady said he believed that United Way's "umbrella" approach to fund-raising is still the best but that the campaign has to make sure that "we bring value to our customers."

"We cannot just glide on our certainty that the United Way is the right thing to do," he said. "We have to demystify what United Way does. I have to tell you -- it's not rocket science."

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