By Todd Cohen
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Wachovia grant challenging individuals to make bigger gifts helped United Way of Central Carolinas exceed the $37.4 million goal for its annual drive.
The drive, chaired by Mary Mack, senior vice president at Wachovia, raised $37.41 million, up 1.8 percent from the total raised in 2002, according to preliminary estimates.
“It is oftentimes when times are toughest that people give more,” says James van der Klok, United Way’s senior vice president for resource development. “They know their neighbors are out of work and having rough times, they know the value of the product, and often they give more.”
While final results will not be tallied until February, preliminary results show that 575 individuals contributing $10,000 or more gave $7 million, up from 504 individuals who gave $6.6 million last year.
United Way also expects to exceed a $250,000 challenge by Wachovia to encourage bigger gifts.
Wachovia agreed to make contributions to United Way’s general community care fund equal both to first-time gifts of $1,000 or more, and to increases by donors who gave at least $1,000 last year.
And for donors who gave less than $5,000 last year and promise to increase their giving to $10,000 over three years, Wachovia will make contributions equal to the difference between $10,000 and the total the donors give this year.
Diane Wright, vice president for marketing, credits United Way’s volunteer leaders with hustling to make the drive succeed by making phone calls and visits to individual donors and corporate leaders.
That attention paid off in individual gifts and in workplace campaigns, which also benefited from greater attention to educating employees and workplace-campaign coordinators about United Way’s impact on the community, she says.
While totals from workplace campaigns are not complete, early results show big increases at some big employers.
The Wachovia campaign, for example, raised $6.9 million, up 16 percent from last year, while Carolina HealthCare System raised $1.33 million, up 22 percent.
Other companies posting big increases included Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, which raised $214,000, up 24 percent; Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, which raised $161,000, up 18 percent; and NorthEast Medical Center, which raised $145,000, up 17 percent.
And Bank of America is expected to exceed the $6.7 million it raised last year, van der Klok says.