A flurry of last-minute effort from established and first-time donors helped Brant United Way exceed its 2012 campaign target, the organization announced on Tuesday.
Donations from businesses, organizations, schools, community groups and individuals totalled $1,635,844, topping a goal of $1,625,000.
“Today is a day of celebration and giving thanks,” master of ceremonies Stacey Farrant told a crowded ballroom at the Best Western Brant Park Inn. “This year, our goal was an aggressive target and this achievement is historic. It will mean a bigger investment in community and will help to meet the increasing needs.”
Brant United Way executive director Kristin Pass thanked her staff, donors and representatives from the United Way's 18 local member agencies for ensuring that children and youth programs, crisis counselling and support and initiatives to address health, poverty and housing will continue.
“This community, the volunteers and donors, have once again embraced the United Way campaign,” Pass said. “United Way is proud of its role as a leader, convenor and participant in positive social change in our community.”
Campaign chair Grant Darling said the 2012 campaign goal represented a 6.5 per cent increase over the United Way's 2011 goal – the largest annual increase in Brant United Way's history.
It was a necessary increase to accommodate the influx of people needing support from member agencies such as Nova Vita, Kids Can Fly, Brant Food for Thought and Victim Services of Brant.
“At its core, United Way exists to be a stabilizer for the community in changing times," Darling said. "People faced with unfortunate circumstances are given the assistance and tools to move past their challenges.”
A record haul of $154,000 at the 10th annual Giant Warehouse Sale helped meet the fundraising target, as did over $70,000 raised at the inaugural Hockey Night in Brantford, organized by Brant MP Phil McColeman. McColeman and his staff received a "stepping up award" for the novel fundraiser, as did BMO in recognition of its exemplary staff participation in campaign events.
Dozens of organizations were acknowledged for their fundraising efforts, with The Williamson Group named campaign of the year and Reynolds Custom Machine taking home the cabinet's chair award.
“When people are inspired to come together, we can make a lasting difference in our community,” Pass said.