After things seemed a bit worrisome last month, local United Way leaders now say they're projecting the organization's 2012 campaign will raise at least $1.7 million, matching the previous year's effort.
That will ensure that the county's United Way-funded agencies will receive similar amounts of support in the coming year.
On Dec. 20, leaders had said the campaign was still about $700,000 short of its goal of $1.8 million. At that point, the effort was about $100,000 behind the pace set the previous year.
"It was a little nerve-wracking back then," said Colleen Gregoire, vice president and campaign manager for the United Way of Douglas County.
Since then, leaders decided to scale back the campaign's goal to a more "reasonable" $1.7 million, which would match the contributions from the 2011 campaign, said Erika Dvorske, president and CEO of the local group.
But in a difficult year for fundraising, that goal still required a good deal of generosity from donors during the last few weeks, Dvorske said.
"It was really spectacular, people stepping up in all kinds of ways," Dvorske said.
Gregoire said some "generous donors" had stepped up since Dec. 20.
"We've kind of closed the gap," she said.
The United Way won't release the final campaign total until a celebration event at the end of February. Some contributions are still coming in, including workplace donations from Douglas County residents who work outside the county.
The generosity even came from employees at agencies funded by the United Way. All of the employees at the Lawrence Community Shelter made donations, officials said, and workers at the Boys and Girls Club tripled their gifts from 2011.
In a release, campaign chairwoman Becki Dick thanked the community for its support during the campaign.
"2012 was a challenging year for fundraising, but Douglas County knows how to help our friends and neighbors in need," said Dick, a Baldwin City businesswoman.
This year's campaign was the first after the local United Way shifted to a new funding philosophy centered on three community goals: education, self-sufficiency and health. In 2012, the new plan resulted in dips in funding for some agencies and increases for others.
The United Way's first disbursement of funding to area agencies this year is set for later this month, followed by other disbursements in late February and late March. It provides funding for 29 social service agencies in the county.