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$4 million campaign hits record


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Mark Stewart, 42, will become President of United Way of Bartholomew County March 12. Since 2005, he has served as president of Indianapolis' Southeast Neighborhood Development, fighting poverty with jobs, better housing and other efforts.
Mark Stewart, 42, will become President of United Way of Bartholomew County March 12. Since 2005, he has served as president of Indianapolis' Southeast Neighborhood Development, fighting poverty with jobs, better housing and other efforts.


A record $4 million United Way of Bartholomew County campaign in 2012 will serve as a healthy boost for the organization’s 29 agencies and programs, according to leaders.

That tops the previous best of $3.7 million set in 2011. Officials said the latest figure probably will mean many agencies will get slightly more money than they requested.

But that depends upon donor-designated gifts, which will be known in about a month.

Fund drive leaders celebrated the milestone Thursday afternoon during United Way’s annual meeting at Factory 12 Event Loft.

United Way President Mark Stewart said campaign leaders demonstrated an intensity that helped put the effort over the top.

“We’re very passionate about what we do,” Stewart said. “That came through in every conversation (with donors).”

The jump in funds by 7 percent in the latest campaign is especially significant in a sluggish economy that featured layoffs at Cummins Inc. and elsewhere late in 2012. Yet, Cummins still set a record with its company donation of $1.1 million.

Stewart, in his first year with United Way but a veteran leader of nonprofits, said a 2 percent rise in a charity fund drive is generally considered solid.

So what does this boost mean for next year’s campaign?

“I suspect we may go with a less ambitious campaign next year,” he said with a laugh.

Money raised supports a variety of projects, including mentors for at-risk youth, programs to keep seniors fit and active, and community centers offering everything from simple fellowship to child care.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” campaign chairman Chris Price said.

Price said generosity especially among manufacturing firms helped the agency top its old record.

Additionally, there were new companies that participated this year among the total of 126 firms that contributed.

The record amount, averaging to $53 per Bartholomew County resident, is expected to once again lead the state for per-capita giving, according to the Indiana Association for United Ways.

The local United Way has led the state’s 64 United Way organizations in per-capita giving for the past 10 years.

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