United Way celebrates $3.6M fundraising campaign efforts |

United Way celebrates $3.6M fundraising campaign efforts

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania collected more than $3.6 million in donations for Westmoreland, Fayette and Southern Armstrong county programs in 2016, organization representatives said Tuesday.

More than 100 local volunteers, individual donors and corporate partners of United Way attended a luncheon at St. Vincent College, where the details of its most recent Westmoreland campaign were announced. The goal of $3.6 million was exceeded by more than $20,000, largely due to contributions by Kennametal Inc., West Penn Power and UPS.

Donations typically are made in the form of payroll deductions from United Way corporate partners. Contributions from the partners make up the bulk of the money the Southwestern Pennsylvania group receives.

This year, Kennametal contributed more than $600,000, up 31 percent from last year. West Penn Power and UPS, two other long-time contributors, increased their contributions as well. West Penn’s contribution rose 11 percent to more than $360,000; UPS increased 5 percent to about $290,000.

For contributions greater than $200,000, all three companies received the annual Above & Beyond Award. For contributions of $50,000, ABB, Carpenter Technology and the Elliot Group were recognized with the Cornerstone Club award.

Also recognized was Linda Moss of First Energy with the Westmoreland Award; Audra Clark, Dan Speal and Teresa Walker of ABB with the Chair of the Board Award; and Laurel Area Faith in Action with the Community Partner award.

Bobbi Watt Geer, regional vice president, attributed the successes of this year’s campaign in part to an ongoing effort to engage younger donors.

“There had been a tradition of working closely with the company as a partner,” Geer said. “We need to be engaging people. It’s not just about the company, it’s about engaging people at the company.”

Kennametal, for example, did so by sponsoring a trip to an escape room for its employees. Proceeds went to the United Way, she said.

Geer said 70 percent of all funds raised this year will be used for literacy, service and programs operated by partner nonprofit organizations throughout the area.

“One of the things about United Way that can be a little challenging is that we’re not just focused on one problem,” Geer said.

Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2122, [email protected], or via Twitter at @MattGuerry.

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