Despite jobs being slashed by the thousands, federal government employees forked over $21.4 million in 10 weeks for the annual United Way Ottawa campaign, surpassing its goal.
“It’s an amazing achievement, and we’re very proud,” said Glenda Yeates, Health Canada deputy minister and chairwoman of the 2012 Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign.
The celebration took place Monday night at the National Gallery.
The campaign launched Sept. 6 with a fundraising goal of $21 million for the region.
Federal public servants are traditionally the largest contributor to the United Way’s campaign.
Although more than 18,000 public servants have been handed notices since the 2012 federal budget was released, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada, this year was no different.
“We were confident in the generosity of the public servants. They are just an amazing sort of bedrock of this campaign, year after year,” said Yeates.
“But we were also respectful of the fact that we are a smaller public service. We took that into account.”
Campaign co-chairwoman Angie Poirier was ecstatic about the announcement.
“We all know that the federal public service has had a difficult year,” said Poirier. “But for the strength they lost in numbers, they certainly gained in heart.”
Federal government employees and retirees organized bake sales, breakfasts, golf tournaments and runs to raise money.
The campaign’s overall target of $30 million is on track, said Poirier, adding it wraps up at the end of March.
“We are flying in our campaign. We’re doing very well,” she said. “We get a shining example of what we can pull off when we all come together, and we have a lot of work to do still.”
In 2011 and 2010, more than $23 million was raised each year by federal public servants, who have been contributing to annual campaigns since 1945.
“They really are amongst the most generous citizens in our community,” said Yeates.
The campaign is the largest workplace charitable campaign in Canada and benefits United Ways across Canada, health partners and more than 80,000 registered charities.
“We definitely have some very generous people here and they always step up for this campaign. They know how important it is for our city, and we still feel that momentum going right now,” said Poirier.