United Way of Tarrant County hopes to raise $21 million in its 2013 campaign, unchanged from last year, based on a survey indicating that companies and their employers are unlikely to increase their pledges.But the campaign, now entering its busiest season, recently got a big boost from Fort Worth-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which just concluded its pledge drive. Combined pledges and contributions from employees, the railroad’s foundation and fundraisers totaled $2.45 million, the largest from a single employer since 2008, when Alcon gave the same amount.BNSF and Alcon have generally led annual giving in recent years, said Cassie McQuitty, chief development officer for United Way of Tarrant County. Alcon’s campaign is scheduled to end next month, she said.The charity works with them and about 500 other employers large and small, McQuitty said.BNSF said in a statement, “This year’s campaign results are a testament to the active engagement of BNSF’s employees and the campaign’s leadership.”Last year, United Way narrowly missed its goal, raising $20.8 million, virtually unchanged from $20.9 million in 2011. That wasn’t far from United Way’s nationwide experience last year, which had a scant 0.3 percent gain from the previous year, McQuitty said.Tim McKinney, president of United Way of Tarrant County, said the organization polls local employers as it sets its annual goal, “and everybody seemed to be where they were in the last campaign,” he said. “The mood seems to be a little bit more positive than the year before.”The difficult economy in recent years has meant that United Way organizations “are not just focused on campaigns, but on diversifying our revenue streams by seeking grants and donors outside the workplace,” McQuitty said. As a result, the organization has total revenues of about $30 million, she said.James Powell, who with his father, Charlie Powell, is co-chairman of United Way of Tarrant County this year, said the organization tries with its 43 partner agencies to maximize results by focusing on three areas: education, income and health.“Now we have very specific goals for each impact area,” he said. By 2020, United Way hopes to help more than 8,000 at-risk students graduate, stabilize incomes for 31,000 families and help 30,000 people with chronic health conditions stay in their homes rather than an institution, he said.
Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay