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Leading the way – Minneapolis firms boost United Way campaign

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MINNEAPOLIS — Thanks to creative fundraising efforts by 10 local companies, their employees and union members, the United Way of Minneapolis Area closed its 1999 campaign with a record $60.2 million in contributions.

The United Way will honor the companies — whose inventive fundraising initiatives netted more than $1 million each — during its annual meeting in March.

The campaign total represents an increase in dollars of more than twice the rate of inflation.

Barry Murphy, a senior vice president for American Express Financial Advisors, dramatized the campaign by sleeping outdoors at a construction site to encourage employee participation. The organization reported a total contribution of nearly $1.7 million — more than $1 million of it from employee donations.

Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George inspired his employees to contribute by leading the popular Macarena dance.  Medtronic raised more than $2.3 million.  George will serve as United Way 2000 volunteer board chair.

Northern States Power Company kicked off its annual United Way kick-off event complete with a motorcycle brigade down Nicollet Mall.  Other campaign contributors whose gifts exceeded $1 million include Cargill, General Mills, Honeywell, U.S. Bank, Pillsbury Company and Target Corporation.

United Way of Minneapolis Area provides leadership to address problems through community partnerships with business, government, and nonprofits and through funding 149 health and human service agencies.

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