Late surge helps United Way of Greater Milwaukee meet goal

United Way of Greater Milwaukee announced that a strong rally in the final week helped it raise $45,535,143 this year, exceeding its $45 million goal.

The Milwaukee United Way raised $1,321,833 more than it did in 2008. The organization says the success is attributed to the thousands of donors who gave to help our community bounce back from a challenging economy, despite their own personal challenges.

United Way officials also credit the hundreds of volunteers who solicited donations and managed workplace giving campaigns.

To read a Milwaukee Biz Blog that helped push the local United Way over the top of its annual goal, click here.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee chief executive officer Sue Dragisic said, "Everyone in our community should be celebrating tonight because of what we accomplished together. In all of my years in Milwaukee’s nonprofit community, I have never been prouder than I am tonight. United Way’s success shows how generous and caring the Greater Milwaukee community truly is. There is a genuine sense of pride in our community. We take care of each other in good times and not-so-good times.”

"United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s success is humbling," said Elizabeth Brenner, president and publisher of Journal Sentinel Inc. and campaign co-chair. "It shows that as a community we collectively put others’ needs first in a challenging time that is clearly impacting all of us. Thousands of people came together and chose United Way as the solution because of its track record of results and 100-year history of efficiency."

"We said we wouldn’t let our community down. Our fundraising success today reinforces the safety net United Way provides and strengthens United Way’s ability to continue to help people build better lives by breaking out of poverty," said Stephen Roell, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Controls Inc. and campaign co-chair.

Among the corporate highlights of the campaign:

Johnson Controls had the largest overall dollar increase of any company, passing $3.2 million for a 48-percent increase, raising approximately $1 million in new contributions.

Bucyrus International Inc. also showed impressive growth, posting a 172-percent, or $500,000, increase since 2006. Its success was largely due to the support of its labor workforce from the United Steelworkers Local 1343, AFL-CIO.

MillerCoors ran a workplace giving campaign for the first time since 1999, raising more than $260,000 in new contributions.

Rockwell Automation Inc. grew to a $2 million+ contributor, increasing donations by 11.3 percent from 2008.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Inc. remains the largest corporate sponsor over the last 100 years, raising more than $3.6 million in 2009.

Weyco Group Inc. doubled employee giving over 2008, with a 68-percent increase in participation.

More information about United Way of Greater Milwaukee is available at

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