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$28.2M for United Way

Numbers on the backs of Albuquerque police motorcycle officers reveal the United Way of Central New Mexico pledge total of $28,208,000 to onlookers at the Albuquerque Convention Center. (Dean Hanson/Journal)
Numbers on the backs of Albuquerque police motorcycle officers reveal the United Way of Central New Mexico pledge total of $28,208,000 to onlookers at the Albuquerque Convention Center. (Dean Hanson/Journal)
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United Way of Central New Mexico overcame a struggling economy to raise a record $28.2 million in pledges, exceeding last year’s total by more than $1 million, the campaign announced Thursday.

“People recognized that the community needs our help to make a difference, and they did,” said Kim Sawyer, the 2012 United Way campaign chairwoman.

United Way used a dramatic touch to reveal the sum Thursday by having APD motorcycle officers — with the dollar figure written on their backs — rumble into the Albuquerque Convention Center during the announcement event.

United Way last year provided community fund grants to 125 local programs that provided vital services to an estimated 213,000 people. This year’s community fund grant recipients will be announced in June.

United Way also plans to launch an education support initiative this year that focuses on support services for children and families. The “cradle-to-career” program is intended to keep kids in school and improve graduation rates.

Some 36,000 donors employed by 300 companies in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties pledged $28,208,000 to United Way in 2012, up 3.7 percent from the 2011 total. The figure also surpassed the 2012 fund drive’s goal of $28.15 million.

Sandia National Laboratories employees pledged more than $5.5 million — the first time a single organization exceeded the $5 million mark.

“It was a tough year,” said Sawyer, Sandia’s deputy director and executive vice president for mission support. “We got out there, talked to leaders, ran a strong campaign, and the response was tremendous.”
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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