Kickoff attendees hold their social media campaign signs after the announcement of the $47.5 million United Way campaign goal.
Supporters at United Way's annual campaign kickoff hold their social media campaign signs after the announcement of the $47.5 million fundraising goal in August. Credit: Jeffrey Sullivan / San Antonio Report

United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County announced Wednesday that it exceeded its 2017 community campaign goal, raising more than $48.7 million since beginning the drive in August and surpassing the initial goal of $47.5 million.

“I think the generosity of the people of San Antonio is something that we can’t underestimate,” said Joe Gorder, this year’s United Way campaign chairman and chairman, CEO, and president of Valero Energy. “We set a target, and I think everybody just really dug deep and made it happen.”

Lyndon Herridge, CEO and president of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, said the money will be used for four primary purposes: helping children get prepared for school, helping children in school succeed academically, helping families, and adding to safety nets at the San Antonio Food Bank. More than 130 charitable organizations across the city and county receive funding from United Way.

This year’s capital campaign goal was $8 million less than last year’s. Herridge attributed the reduction to changes in donation patterns, pointing to certain federal regulatory changes that impacted the way federal employees manage their charitable giving.

“Every year is a challenge,” Herridge said. “But we’ll have a successful campaign next year.”

He said it was too early to predict what the goal will be for 2018.

Much of the support for this year’s campaign ultimately came from individual donors across the city , Herridge said. That group made up 78 percent of donations, with other sizable portions coming from corporate giving and people who gave at least $500.

In the midst of the campaign, three hurricanes hit the United States and Puerto Rico. Neither Herridge or Gorder said they believed those disasters, and the major philanthropic efforts that followed, had much of an impact on people’s charitable giving.

Perhaps it just made people realize that there were significant needs out there that needed to be met, and it was their opportunity to help meet those needs,” Gorder said. 

Jeffrey Sullivan is a Rivard Report reporter. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Political Science.