We make it a priority to be active members of the communities we serve, from supporting important community organizations through direct financial contributions, to encouraging employee volunteerism and matching their charitable donations. Our commitment to community is especially evident in our annual United Way campaign.
We have a longstanding tradition of support for United Way, and each year our employees and retirees participate through donation pledges, fundraising events, and volunteering. Our campaign reaches more than 70 United Way chapters across our eight state territory and is highlighted time and again by our employees as one of the most fun and most meaningful parts of working for Xcel Energy, and 2016 was no different.
Our annual campaign averaged over $2.5 million raised in each of the last 10 years. Combined with our campaign donation match, more than $50 million was contributed for the friends and families of our communities during this same time period. This year, we deepened our involvement with local United Way chapters and asked for even more engagement from our generous employees and retirees.
We set our 2016 goal at the highest level in our long history of campaigns, $3 million, and we're proud to announce that we not only met that goal – we surpassed it, making this our most successful campaign ever in terms of money raised. In addition, we are poised to break a number of our campaign records as a result of our 2016 efforts.
We like to get creative when raising money for our annual United Way campaign. Bake sales, chili cook-offs, golf tournaments, and “office Olympics” are a few fun ways we engage our employees in our fundraising efforts. Ultimately we know these events and our donations help provide children with warm winter coats, prevent families from going hungry, offer job training assistance, and more.
In addition to our in-office fundraising efforts, we participated in dozens of local events across our service areas to boost interest in our campaign.
We know that a healthy, thriving, and vibrant community is important to you, and through this campaign and other community-focused efforts, we want you to know that it’s just as important to us.
Xcel Energy chairman of the board, president, and CEO Ben Fowke and his wife Kathleen served as this year's campaign co-chairs for Greater Twin Cities United Way. As a part of this year's campaign, we highlighted our efforts at a number of events in the Twin Cities, including the Battle of the Badges (external link) barbecue cook-off, Open Streets Minneapolis (external link), a Minnesota Wild game, and even a friendly competition with CenterPoint Energy.
We featured our partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way at a recent Minnesota Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center. Ben Fowke, along with his wife Kathleen, led the crowd in the ceremonial "Let's Play Hockey!" announcement. They were joined by a ninth-grade student who participates in after-school programs through Neighborhood House (external link), a United Way partner agency.
In conjunction with this year's campaign, we squared off with CenterPoint Energy for the Twin Cities United Way Energy Challenge to see which company could increase the number of employees contributing to United Way, compared to 2015. We're proud to announce that we won this year's competition and were crowned the “Twin Cities United Way Energy Champion.”
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