"I've been through recessions where we slipped back $1 million," Annala said.
She said she knew the fund-raising goal announced last fall was ambitious. Corporations canceled gifts, and throughout the campaign, United Way adjusted its tally to account for employee pledges that won't be coming through because of layoffs.
The $38.8 million represents 99 percent of the amount raised last year: $39 million. Annala said fund raising could have fallen back much further. "We're really happy we didn't lose the gains."
United Way benefited from 140 first-time workplace campaigns. Annala said those companies and employees who are surviving the recession were generous this year. "It's really because the ones who could, did."
United Way recently recognized 12 top fund-raisers, as well as four recipients of a new award, "Spirit United."
The award is for companies that support United Way through various means: a high portion of employees contributing money, volunteerism and leadership.
The first recipients of the Spirit United award are Citizens Energy Group, Eli Lilly and Co., RJE Business Interiors and Walker Information.