County workers exceed United Way goal

Police chief's forecast topped by $36,000

February 14, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

When Anne Arundel County Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan predicted that county workers would pledge $150,000 in United Way donations this year, coordinators for the charity stared at him in disbelief.

"I told them I knew it was awfully ambitious, but that I also know what kind of workers this county has," Shanahan said.

County employees not only met the goal, but exceeded it, pledging $186,000, an increase of 38 percent over last year's donations.

Not even Shanahan, director of the 2002 United Way fund-raising drive for county government, had expected that much from county employees.

"Our county employees' generosity is just amazing," Shanahan said yesterday during a luncheon at which he and County Executive Janet S. Owens thanked county workers for their contributions.

Anne Arundel County workers had the largest increase in giving among county governments that contribute to United Way of Central Maryland, United Way officials said.

Howard County employees pledged $123,000, 31 percent more than last year; Baltimore County workers pledged $276,000, a 15 percent increase; and Harford County workers pledged $33,000, a 12 percent increase, said Patrick Smith, a spokesman for United Way of Central Maryland.

Smith said overall donations to United Way of Central Maryland are up slightly, to $45 million from last year's $43 million.

United Way and county officials attributed the increased donations, in part, to the nation's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"We saw the best of Anne Arundel County citizens after Sept. 11. ... People were calling us for the first time asking what they could do to help," said Collette Campbell, United Way's campaign director for Anne Arundel County.

Initially, Shanahan said, he was concerned that United Way donations would drop after Sept. 11 because people were giving so generously to relief funds and because so many people were nervous about the downturn in the economy.

Shanahan outlined the fund-raising goal in June, but pledges were not made until October.

Like many charity directors who also were worried about a drop in donations, Shanahan said he was pleased to see people giving more.

"People responded because of 9-11," said Bill Gould, a manager in the county's Central Services Department. "It really made a difference."People's hearts just changed."

Donations from workers in Central Services increased 154 percent, which Gould attributed to the department's United Way coordinator, John Dodds, a county real estate manager who went from employee to employee asking for contributions.

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