United Way hits $21.6 million campaign goal

Charlotte’s United Way said Thursday that it has reached its $21.6 million goal, the highest set by the agency since the recession.

The announcement – which was hosted by the Carolina Panthers organization – marked a victory for United Way Executive Director Jane McIntyre, who’ll retire as head of the agency next week.

If all goes as expected, she says the agency’s board will allocate $17 million of the money to United Way’s 82 member charities this year. And that would make for a total of $100 million allocated during McIntyre’s six years at United Way, officials said.

“That’s a huge number, $100 million,” said McIntyre, who joined the agency in 2009. “That figure is not something that our team ever considered back in 2009, but to reach such an incredible milestone, that’s a wonderful way to go out.”

In 2009, the agency’s campaign was in crisis because of a scandal involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits paid by United Way to its former CEO, Gloria Pace King.

McIntyre, who was this week named Charlotte’s Woman of the Year, was hired to repair the agency’s image and rebuild its campaign, which is now raising $2.3 million annually more than in 2009.

Still, it fell about $400,000 short last year, prompting United Way to dip into a reserve fund to make up the difference. In all, $985,104 was taken from reserves last year. Reserves will likely be used again this year, but agency officials say they won’t know how much is needed until all the pledges have been calculated.

United Way officials said more than 52,000 people contributed to the campaign this year, including the staffs of 1,200 businesses. More than $7.5 million of the campaign total was raised by just five companies: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Carolinas HealthCare System, Duke Energy and Ingersoll Rand.

In all, more than 300,000 people in the region are helped by programs funded through the campaign, McIntyre said.

The Carolina Panthers honored McIntyre’s contributions to the community with the presentation of a helmet autographed by head coach Ron Rivera.

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