Campaign increases giving for seventh consecutive year
Officials at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) announced they have raised $14,538,133, which represents an increase in giving for the seventh straight year in a row for the nonprofit organization. The total raised came from a combination of employee workplace campaigns, corporate and foundation support, endowment gifts, and several special fundraising strategies designed to support the United Way and its partner agencies. Last year, the United Way raised $14,518,426.
Workplace giving was supplemented with special fundraising events and grants, including: an increase in check-out scanning programs at several local retail outlets; the annual "Spring It On" campaign, a 24-hour online fundraising campaign that increased 13 percent over last year; and an increase in major gifts with eight new members joining the Tocqueville Society, which includes giving an annual gift of $10,000 or more. This year's campaign also enjoyed growth in its endowment, now totaling $7.8 million with over $442,000 in new bequests acquired since this time last year.
As UWBEC continues to celebrate its centennial year, it views its "aspirational" goal of $15 million as a work in progress for the next five years
"It is such a testament to our community's commitment to helping their neighbors that giving continues to increase and growth has been sustained over a number of years. We are optimistic we will continue to see year over year growth in our annual campaign, and look forward to serving Buffalo and Erie County for the next 100 years," said Michael Weiner, president and CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. "This outcome continues to motivate us to actively and strategically fundraise on behalf of our community, and also allows the community to rally together and work towards a common goal of improving the quality of life of every person in Erie County."
Not only did UWBEC's annual fundraising campaign enjoy growth, but the organization also saw increases in other important areas. It launched a new affinity group, Next Generation United, targeting millennials and young professionals and, through this group, the UWBEC gave away $10,000 in grant funding to local, millennial-led nonprofit organizations. UWBEC also saw an increase in membership in its women-focused group, Women United, adding an additional 300 members, bringing total membership up to 1,600. To be eligible for Women United, donors must pledge $500 or more annually with at least half of their gift benefitting the United Way.
Additionally, UWBEC increased the total amount of annual funding available to nonprofit agencies by $54,000 - the first increase in overall allocations in six years. This increase was due primarily to an increase in average gift levels and a decrease in designations.
The 2016 Campaign was led by volunteer chair Paulette Crooke.
For 100 years, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has worked to unite the whole community to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in Erie County. United Way of Buffalo & Erie County mobilizes thousands of people every year to give, advocate and volunteer to help children reach their full potential, families achieve financial stability, and the whole community attain and maintain good health and wellness. For more information, visit www.uwbec.org.