Good result for United Way 1996 campaign: Upturn continues as more people choose to give.

November 24, 1996

CENTRAL MARYLAND faces 1997 with greater confidence knowing its 1996 United Way campaign pulled in pledges of $37,784,599, just topping the ambitious goal and exceeding last year's giving by more than 4 percent. This is the second straight strong improvement after the tepid showings and setbacks of the early part of the decade.

The good result in a shorter campaign reflected improved giving from foundations, African-American companies, small firms such as restaurants, and in Carroll and Harford counties. The one-pledge payroll deduction mechanism for supporting 72 agencies in metropolitan Baltimore is catching up with changes in the workplace where it seeks commitments.

This success is a tribute to the dedication and energy of this year's campaign volunteers, led by Donald A. Manekin. It is also a fine start for United Way of Maryland's new president, Larry E. Walton, and his professional staff.

With government's role in addressing social needs shrinking, the challenge to voluntary philanthropy and each comfortable citizen becomes greater. The agencies that provide human services find more clients on their doorstep, drawn increasingly from the ranks of those who never expected to be there and from outer parts of the metropolitan area.

United Way is the principal means we have for facing these challenges. Without it, the pressure on charitable agencies would be incessant, the percentage of funds spent on fund-raising would be far greater and the amount of need met would be smaller.

The 1995 and 1996 performance of United Way is encouraging. Central Maryland is coping with the changes in company ownership and downsizing that have deprived it of traditional civic leadership and the large unionized payrolls on which United Way long depended.

These positive gains of 1996 should encourage the volunteer leadership of United Way to raise its sights for 1997. The need will be there.

Pub Date: 11/24/96

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