The Democratic National Convention may have been a boon for the local economy, but it’s being blamed in part for a $1 million dip in United Way’s ongoing fund drive.
Agency officials announced Thursday that they’ve so far raised $12.6 million, which is $1 million shy of where the campaign stood at this point last year.
The dip is credited to a one-two punch from the DNC and Hurricane Sandy’s impact on local companies with large staffs in the northeast.
Held the first week of September, the convention imposed security measures that disrupted uptown traffic and fenced off entire buildings, including the United Way office.
Fifteen of the agency’s top 100 corporate supporters delayed their employee campaigns by as much as three weeks for the DNC, officials said. Those 15 accounted for $8.9 million raised last year, or 42 percent of the campaign’s tally.
In addition, several Charlotte companies with East Coast operations have been forced to extend their employee campaigns due to recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
There is growing concern that those campaigns may not rebound by the time the fund drive ends on Feb. 14.
That would force United Way to either go into its reserve fund or make cuts to its 87 member charities.
United Way Board Chair John Cannon stopped short of saying he fears the fund drive will falter, noting it is more than halfway to its $21.2 million goal.
On Thursday, he urged fellow board members to take a more active role in campaigns within their own companies.
Jane McIntyre, United Way’s executive director, said there are no plans now to extend the campaign. She’s hoping they won’t have to.
“I won’t even go there,” McIntyre said of the possibility of a short fall. “I don’t even let my staff go there.”
If successful, this year’s campaign will raise about $300,000 more than last year.
That slim 1.5 percent increase represents an effort to build on financial momentum from 2011, when United Way took in $400,000 more than its goal. The extra money was credited to an increase in individual donors, who filled the gap left by fewer large corporate campaign gifts.