The United Way of Central Maryland campaigns pledged nearly 2 percent more in 1994 than in 1993, after two years of declines. This is not a lot, not enough, not what the needs of Central Maryland require, but it is nonetheless a refreshing breakthrough after tough times and it could well be the start of steady increases in coming years. Campaign volunteers can be justly proud.
This gain of nearly 2 percent is in the figure of $30,831,229, which includes the United Way campaign in the private sector, the Combined Charity Campaign among city employees and the Maryland Charity Campaign among state employees. The comparable figure a year earlier was $30,255,716. (The charity campaign among federal workers is separate and may not be counted with these figures, which obscures the true picture.)
The United Way of Central Maryland campaign in the private sector produced pledges of $27,776,229, which was below the goal but a 1 percent gain over the prior year. This is encouraging about people's attitudes when the down-sizing of payrolls and the economic doldrums of Central Maryland are taken into account.
The Combined Charity Campaign among city workers pledged $870,000, a loss of less than 1 percent from the last drive, though city employment is shrinking. The Maryland Charity Campaign among state workers pledged $2,185,000, a robust 16 percent gain. Large private-sector campaigns included Baltimore Gas and Electric, $1.7 million; Westinghouse, $1.5 million; Bell Atlantic, $1.2 million and Alex. Brown, $911,000.
All this suggests that Central Maryland may be poised to advance from among the less to the more generous metropolitan populations. This is a desperate need when government at all levels teaches people to expect less help from that source. Those who believe in this -- and most Americans do -- are obliged, if in secure circumstances, to help their less fortunate neighbors voluntarily.
United Way payroll deductions provide the most comprehensive and cost-effective way to do this. Now that the 1994 campaign is over, the 1995 volunteer campaign is organizing under the chairmanship of James B. Sellinger, area general manager for IBM. To address the needs of our community, it needs to build on the successes of the 1994 campaign, doing more of the same things only better. Before then, the United Way organization will press on with previously announced reforms and attempts to engage the community.
The Baltimore region is still among the less charitable parts of the country. That needs to be changed, for the good of everyone's environment, mostly by keeping up the good works.