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Identity & Community

United Way Surpasses 2013 Fundraising Goal

United Way of Allegheny County announced that it raised $33,987,061 from its 2013 campaign-- 2.3 percent increase from the previous year’s total.

Marking its fourth consecutive year of growth, the charity surpassed its internal goal of  $33,883,317.

Bob Nelkin, United Way President, said he believes the charity continues growing because donors are able to see the impact of their donations.

“People are appreciating the agencies and organizations that tackle the human problems, and they’re really making a difference through their excellent human services,” Nelkin said. “So people see that their dollars are being put to use, they’re showing a measurable result and they’re tackling really important problems.”

The United Way uses the funds to help children, senior citizens, those with disabilities and people attempting to rebuild their lives.

The United Way raises funds through various means including individual donations online, campaigns and corporate giving in which employees from different organizations contribute through payroll deductions.

Nelkin said Pittsburgh is an exceptionally giving city.

“We see this when we compare our United Way with United Ways across the country and other major charities,” Nelkin said. “We’ve been growing at a much faster rate than others, I think it’s a tribute to the leadership of our business community.”

Corporate giving increased by 4.1 percent with more than $250,000 donated as first-time gifts.

It received a four-star rating - the highest possible - for the fourth consecutive year from Charity Navigator, which is a charity evaluator.

“Only seven percent of charities that are rated receive that,” Nelkin said. “The message to the donors [is that] this is an exceptional charity, it’s one that you can trust, it’s well-governed, the finances are in order and it’s putting the dollars to use rather than administrative or fundraising expenses.”

However, Nelkin acknowledged that there is still work to be done. He said that's apparent from the charity’s human services resource line, PA 2-1-1, which helped 86,000 people last year and has tripled its volume over the last three years.

“What we learn is that people are still struggling mightily,” Nelkin said. “Twenty-five percent of the calls are how to avoid homelessness, about 25 percent are how to keep the utilities on, another 25 percent are basic needs: food, clothing, transportation, healthcare.”

The goal for United Way’s 2014 campaign has yet to be determined.