Local United Way sets fundraising record

United Way of the Laurel Highlands celebrated the conclusion of its most successful capital campaign ever on Friday.

The organization raised a record $1,442,436 during its 2015 fund drive that started in September, as was announced during a Johns-town Tomahawks hockey game.

It far surpassed the previous best mark of $1.1 million reached in the 2012 campaign.

“We are extremely happy with the results of this year’s campaign, but even more so with the ability these funds give us to make an even greater positive impact in the lives of many people in need in our community,” Bill McKinney, United Way president, said. “These funds will enable us to ‘bring-to-scale’ several programs that are moving families out of poverty, preparing young children for a life of learning, and preventing drug abuse.”

The agency, under the leadership of campaign Chairman Craig Saylor, CEO of Somerset Hospital, hit the milestone thanks to a partnership with the 1889 Foundation. In December, the foundation set up a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge grant for up to $500,000, a limit that was reached thanks to donations from individuals and organizations.

“We are extremely excited to see the full match going to the United Way,” Sue Mann, president of the 1889 Foundation, said.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with them in the future.”

The money will be used to support the local United Way’s 25 partner agencies in Cambria and Somerset counties.