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Published: Tuesday, 11/1/2005

United Way ahead of last year s pace

This year s local United Way fund-raising drive has crossed its halfway mark and the dollars are coming in faster than last year, officials said.

Toledo-area organizers set a $13.34 million goal for this year s annual drive, which was kicked off in mid-August exactly $1 million more than the $12.34 million raised last year, when the organization had a $13 million goal.

As of yesterday, the organization raised $7.155 million. Weekly comparisons with last year s totals which are calculated every Thursday place last Thursday s $6.502 million total about $70,000 above last year s $6.434 million total for that period.

Most heartening, according to Bill Kitson, president of the United Way of Greater Toledo, was that donations from the biggest companies many of which organized their own internal drives were up an average of 7 percent this year.

He credited the fact that United Way fund-raisers, including himself, were doing more face-to-face interaction with such companies than in the past.

But he also noted that some companies said they had already donated to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief: donations that skirted the United Way entirely.

He said that since 1999 when donations reached an all-time high of about $15 million annual totals have dropped, until stabilizing just last year.

Even though we re on target, we could so easily lose that. Let us have a successful campaign for the first time in years. In six years, we need to turn that corner, Mr. Kitson said. The thing I m really concerned about is the next half.

United Way of Greater Toledo serves Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties. The fund-raising drive officially ends Dec. 1.

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