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Published: Friday, 12/2/2005

United Way exceeds goal, raises $13.3M

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Area residents continued to show their generosity this year as the United Way of Greater Toledo announced that it reached its fund-raising goal, beating last year's amount by $1 million.

The total of $13.345 million was an 8.1 percent increase and topped the $12.343 million raised in 2004.

This year's successful campaign marks the first time United Way, which serves Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties, achieved its fund-raising goal since 2001.

It was the first time it had back-to-back donation increases since 1998 and 1999, when giving topped $15 million.

"This is our largest dollar increase since 1981," said Bill Kitson, United Way president.

Mr. Kitson said the efforts will enable United Way to look at new programs for funding.

James Murray, regional president of Toledo Edison and this year's campaign chairman, said companies were creative in donating to the United Way. He said when employee giving fell short, they held fund-raisers.

Mr. Murray said his committee worked hard to diversify its donor list as well as maintaining those who give to the United Way annually. He said 280 entities increased their donations this year, while the agency signed on 75 new donors.

Mr. Murray and Mr. Kitson said some companies had double-digit percentage increases.

Dave Wehrmeister, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo, said the increase comes at a critical time for agencies like his. The clubs received roughly $525,000 from the United Way last year.

"This will enable kids to stay longer to do their homework with staff volunteers and learn new technology in our computer labs," Mr. Wehrmeister said. "I'm very pleased, and board and staff will be very pleased to hear this news. I'm proud to be in Toledo," Mr. Wehrmeister said.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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