For the first time since 2005, the Capital Area United Way has exceeded its annual campaign goal.

The workplace campaign goal for 2013-14 was $9,050,000, but this year’s campaign, led by Ralph Bender, of Manship Media, brought in pledges totaling $9,061,165. Combined with other sponsorships, grants and legacy gifts, it leaves CAUW with a total of $9,552,669.

“This has been a turnaround year for us,” CAUW board Chairman Scott Berg said at the organization’s annual luncheon Monday at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center. “I’m thrilled about United Way’s direction.”

“We have a oneness of purpose,” Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. president of United Way Worldwide, told the luncheon crowd, which included representatives from United Way of Southeast Louisiana in New Orleans, United Way of Acadiana in Lafayette and United Way of Southwest Louisiana in Lake Charles. “At no time in history has it been as important for us to figure out how we can work together so that everybody has the opportunity for a better life.”

Kendall C. Hebert, vice president of communications and marketing for CAUW, said the local economy played a part in the goal-breaking numbers.

“As the economy grows and improves, we see employees able to give more of their time, talent and treasure,” Hebert said. “As new businesses come into our area — for example, Methanex came into our region and started a campaign with CAUW — that only increases our total workforce campaign in donations/contributions and support.”

So does credibility. Berg noted a January public opinion poll in which 67 percent of the respondents felt CAUW will do what it promises.

Capital Area United Way provides funds to 114 programs through 46 agencies in its 10-parish coverage area. Those parishes are Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.

For more information, visit

Follow Pam on Twitter, @pamspartyline.