The record $39 million is expected to be $2 million over the prior year.
President and CEO Ellen Annala attributed the increase to campaign co-chairmen who put their own money on the line as incentives for others to raise commitments.
Bob Potts, who retired last year as CEO of Herff Jones Inc., and Denny Sponsel, president and owner of RJE Business Interiors Inc., pledged to donate $100 to the campaign for each visit that staff and other volunteers made to businesses.
As a result, 253 businesses received visits, up from 185 in 2006, United Way said. Potts and Sponsel in turn each chipped in $6,500 beyond their normal contributions.
More than $375,000 was generated from nearly 100 companies that took part in the campaign for the first time.
The average gift increased 10 percent, to $27 per giver.
United Way said big gains were made at firms including Eli Lilly and Co., Huntington Bank, Community Health Network, IUPUI, OneAmerica, and the Indiana Pacers.
Growth in the campaigns had stalled. In 2004 and 2005 the campaigns generated just over $36 million.