The United Way of the Great Salt Lake Area ended its 1987 fund-raising campaign Wednesday with the announcement that it has exceeded its $4.5 million campaign goal. The campaign goal has not been reached since 1983.
Wm. James Mortimer, publisher of the Deseret News and 1987 fund campaign chairman, announced that $4,503,167 was raised in the annual drive a 7 percent increase over last year's total."You're all heroes and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done," Mortimer told volunteers and representatives of companies and employee groups during a "Salute to the 1987 Campaign Heroes" luncheon. "We made it!"
Money raised by United Way is used to fund health and human service programs of 60 private, non-profit agencies in a four-county area. Programs provide shelter, food, abuse intervention, counseling, substance abuse treatment, day care, home health visits, programs for high-risk youth and services for the elderly in Salt Lake, Summit, south Davis and Tooele counties.
The final tally had been a closely guarded secret. "I had a feeling we were awfully close," Mortimer said, "but I didn't know if we made it. This is wonderful!"
When Nancy L. Giles, chairwoman of the United Way board, called Mortimer the official "superhero" of the campaign, a man in a red leotard and a cape swooped in to present a cape and United Way blazon to the startled campaign chairman.
Kathi K. Smith offered the viewpoint of a service recipient. She said she and her children spent two weeks at a shelter for battered women that is supported by the United Way. Her children now benefit from day care programs, allowing her to work.
"You guys literally pulled us from the bottom," she said. "The money you have raised to help these programs is our lifeline. I needed some help and all of you were there. Now I can go to work and concentrate without worrying about my kids."
Surety Life Insurance Co. received a United Way of America Corporate Communications Contest award for their in-house campaign. No other Utah company has ever earned a national award.
During the 90-minute celebration, Mortimer thanked Harris and Love Advertising for serving as the campaign's volunteer ad agency. The campaign poster they designed was the Utah Ad Star winner for public service announcements in December.
Mortimer gave 153 companies the Centennial Award of Excellence for achieving a 10 percent or more increase in donations. Another 51 companies received the Centennial Award of Appreciation for continued support of United Way, although 1987 donations were not 10 percent higher.
Ted Fox, vice president of St. Mark's Hospital and United Way planning and allocations chairman, presented awards to those responsible for fund allocation. More than 150 volunteers work at least seven months a year to decide how funds will be distributed.
Nationally, United Way just celebrated its centennial. Utah became involved in 1904 with establishment of the Salt Lake Charity Association, which became Community Chest, the United Fund and the United Way of the Great Salt Lake Area.