United Arts of Central Florida's annual public-fundraising campaign had its strongest result in five years, officials said, beating its 2013 goal by almost $390,000.
Individuals donated $1.96 million to the three-month fund drive that supports more than 50 cultural organizations in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. The goal was $1.57 million, about $200,000 more than was raised in 2012. United Arts executives will formally announce the results Monday.
The campaign's success is a bright spot for United Arts, which in 2012 missed its overall annual goal for the first time in a decade. It was the first fundraising campaign led by Flora Maria Garcia, who became president of the organization last May.
"As a newcomer to Central Florida, I am impressed that so many people from different walks of life came together to make our goal a reality," Garcia said. "It's humbling."
The public drive, dubbed the collaborative campaign, is a key step toward United Arts' overall fundraising goal, which is announced each June.
Board member Scott Bowman, who helped oversee the collaborative campaign, said early pledges played a crucial role. More than $500,000 had been locked in before the drive officially began Feb. 1.
"The early-bird mailing gave everyone a terrific head start, and the momentum endured," he said. "We have more work to do to finish out the year, but I'm proud to see that our hard work, alongside that of our cultural partners, has paid off."
The public fundraising ended April 30. United Arts will continue to seek corporate and foundation funding. It also receives government funding through various grants and allocations.
Other factors in reaching the goal, Bowman said, were an increased emphasis in workplace giving and a promotional video shown online and in movie theaters.
Bowman pointed to an Arts Fair, held by Darden Restaurants at its Orlando headquarters, as a way of increasing donations through workplace initiatives. Ten cultural organizations, including the Orlando Ballet and the Orlando Science Center, showcased their work at the fair.
"More than 400 Darden employees had a chance to stop by on their lunch break and see a sampling of all that these arts groups are doing," Bowman said. "We look forward to more events like that next year."
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In the United Arts collaborative campaign, donors can designate their funds either to specific major arts organizations or a general fund, called Arts For All. That general fund, which is split among smaller groups, collected $204,238 this year — $54,383 more than United Arts had projected.
Groups receiving more than $100,000 through specific donations this year were:
•Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra: $415,704 plus $159,627 specifically for opera programming
•Orlando Shakespeare Theater: $320,032
•Bach Festival Society of Winter Park: $156,757
•Orlando Science Center: $153,605
•Orlando Ballet: $140,437
•Orlando Museum of Art: $116,467Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun