United Way of the Lowcountry hits $2.3 million fundraising goal

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 31, 2014 

The United Way of the Lowcountry reached its $2.3 million fundraising target this week -- the first time it has met its annual campaign goal since 2007.

Last week, the campaign was within $100,000 of its goal, and by Thursday, it was less than $50,000 away, with a few donations left to process, United Way spokesman Ryan Copeland said.

"We got some significant donations late in the day (Thursday) that put us just over our goal," he said.

On top of several smaller donations, a $50,000 gift from one Hilton Head Island man -- who wished to remain anonymous -- gave the group it's final push over the goal, Copeland said.

In total, the United Way raised $2,310,104.34 to help fund 44 programs through 33 nonprofit agencies in Beaufort and Jasper counties, according to United Way of the Lowcountry.

"I cannot say in words how proud I am of the collective efforts of board, staff and other volunteers who were recruited to our cause that helped make our goal for the first time in seven years," said Chris McCorkendale, United Way board chairman.

Last year, the organization raised about $2.24 million, missing its goal of $2.8 million. This year, the target was lowered to a more realistic amount that still provided enough support for partner agencies, Copeland said.

Hitting the goal is a confidence-booster for everyone -- from the United Way's partner organizations to the families served by their programs, said Bernie Kole, a board member and co-coordinator for the campaign in northern Beaufort County.

The goal was met despite a decision in December to do away with a two-month fundraising blackout period, which prevented member organizations from raising money from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 and competing with the campaign.

Meeting the goal is a strong indicator of the overall health of area charities and the spirit of those who give, Kole said.

"It's looking good, and I can't wait to get the next campaign started this summer," he said.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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