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United Way campaign raises $13.5 million

United Way president Michael Weiner
WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner
United Way president Michael Weiner

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County has exceeded its yearly campaign goal for the first time since 2002. 

The more than $13,568,000 in pledges for 2011 announced today by United Way officials represents a two-percent increase over the amount raised last year. 

United Way president Michael Weiner says he is grateful for the way the community responded.

"We all know that this is an enormously caring and giving community, but it's not sometimes until you see that final number...that we really can step back and say, 'Wow, this is great. This is a tremendous reflection on the amount of caring and support that we see in this community,'" said Weiner.

Weiner says some changes instituted in the last couple of years have paid off handsomely.

"We're much more customer-oriented. We're much more engaged with donors in the community. We're much more transparent. We've increased our accountability. We've reduced our overhead expenses. We've eliminated fees," Weiner told WBFO and AM 970 News.

The 20th annual Day of Caring will be August 15.  Public announcement of the 2012 goal will be made shortly after Labor Day.