United Way Ottawa’s campaign achievement event -- at which officials announce the amount raised during the official fundraising period -- is held tonight.

While the campaign was at $29,924,000 – or 94.4 per cent – of its $31.7-million goal last night, chances are that the organization won’t reach its target by then, said community campaign chairman Jamie McCracken. But with the campaign unofficially continuing through January, he’s confident they’ll reach their goal.

McCracken has seen Ottawans give generously – and creatively – over the last 10 weeks.


Although payroll deductions bring in most of the funds, he’s seen a friendly rivalry between businesses, raffles for everything from a pass to coming to work late to prime parking spots, air band competitions and game shows.

“It’s a serious cause, but it’s also important to have fun doing this,” he said.

“People are willing to help their neighbours,” he said. “I think that the United Way is an organization that’s well respected in the city. People know that the money is used to support people.”

Vice-president of campaigns for United Way Ottawa Joan Highet said people are still coming through for the community despite of the recession.

“What I’ve seen this year is, as a result of the downturn, the desire to give is even stronger. There’s more recognition of need in the community,” she said.

The campaign continues to accept contributions, McCracken said. “We need people to understand that we’re not there yet.”

To make a donation, visit www.unitedwayottawa.ca or call 613-228-6767.

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