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United Way drives – Totals rise in tough year

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By Todd Cohen

Local United Way affiliates in North Carolina raised $155.4 million in their fall campaigns last year, up 7 percent from 1999, according to the United Way of North Carolina.

The four biggest affiliates – in Charlotte, the Triangle, Winston-Salem and Greensboro – raised $94.7 million.

United Way of Central Carolinas in Charlotte raised $36 million, up 12 percent from 1999 — and up from $17 million in 1994.

The Triangle United Way raised $26.2 million, up 5 percent, while the United Way of Forsyth County raised $17.3 million, up 3 percent, and the United Way of Greater Greensboro raised $15.3 million, up 6 percent.

“It was a tough campaign year,” says Jim Morrison, president of the United Way of North Carolina.

Following a year in which the four biggest affiliates posted double-digit increases, he says, United Way fundraising was hurt by the slowdown in the economy and an election campaign that siphoned donor dollars from charity.

“Leadership” gifts of $1,000 or more continue to be the biggest source of increases in giving, following a national trend, Morrison says.

“More people are making big gifts,” he said, “and the sizes of those gifts in some instances are getting bigger.”

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