United Way meets goal of $45 million

Charity raised 4.5% more than in 2000

March 27, 2002|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

It took some extra effort, but the United Way of Central Maryland has met its $45 million campaign goal for 2001, despite a foundering economy and the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

The charity, which covers Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard and Carroll counties, raised 4.5 percent more than last year's record amount of $43.1 million. Campaign officials will announce the results at a news conference today.

The 2001 campaign drew about 13,000 fewer donors than the year before. But they gave more, on average - $227 in 2001, compared with $214 in 2000.

"Overall, when you take into account Sept. 11, the Central Maryland community contributed at a record pace," said Larry E. Walton, president and chief professional officer of the local United Way. "I think everybody should hold their heads high about what we accomplished this year."

The 2001 campaign saw growth in some gifts - such as the one from Johns Hopkins institutions, which came up with more than $2 million for the first time - and a decline in others, such as Bethlehem Steel, which has long been a key contributor.

The steel company, which has combined with the United Steelworkers of America to raise more than $1 million for the Central Maryland campaign for years, fell short in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy that may cost jobs and slash retirement benefits at its Sparrows Point plant.

In 2001, there was no corporate gift at all. Employees contributed $723,000.

At the combined Hopkins institutions, the $2.2 million take for United Way surpassed its goal by nearly $200,000. The year before, the combined institutions gave $1.9 million to the campaign.

`Million-dollar dean'

At Hopkins, Richard E. McCarty, dean of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, had the job of raising $1 million - half the overall goal - from university employees. To that end, his assistant printed up a hat and shirt proclaiming him the "million-dollar dean."

It worked. "People have responded by and large quite well," said McCarty, though he said faculty participation in the campaign still is lower than it should be.

Constellation Energy was the only other company to raise $2 million, doing so for the second year in a row. McCormick & Co. Inc. donated $1 million for the first time.

In the months after the disaster, United Way officials worried that their campaign for more than 140 member agencies would be overlooked. United Way officials here estimate that Maryland companies and individuals donated about $20 million to Sept. 11 causes outside of the United Way.

Many large companies were just beginning United Way appeals the week of Sept. 11. They had to be put on hold and started again.

`Incredible challenge'

The United Way ran a television ad campaign. One featured former Baltimore fire spokesman Hector L. Torres, a native New Yorker, asking donors not to forget that local groups also need their help.

"We had an incredible challenge," said James W. Brinkley, president and chief operating officer of Legg Mason Wood Walker, who led the 2001 effort. To make the goal, Brinkley said, he called some companies and individuals that had given money - and asked for more.

"Without that, we would have been short," he said.

An increase in larger individual gifts helped make the difference. Seven people - up from three in 2000 - contributed $100,000 or more each. The organization declined yesterday to reveal those donors' names.

The number of people who gave $10,000 or more went up by 8 percent, and the number of people giving $1,000 or more went up by 6 percent.

While the overall campaign exceeded its goal by $22,600, at least $450,000 of what was raised was designated by donors for disaster relief funds outside Maryland that are aiding victims of the terrorist attacks.

The 2002 campaign will be led by University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski III and his wife, Jackie, Walton said yesterday.

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