The United Way Kitchener Waterloo & Area aims to raise $5.1 million dollars during its fall fundraising campaign by early 2014.

The organization, which supports 77 Waterloo Region and area agencies and organizations through its fundraising efforts, made the announcement on Friday morning at the University of Waterloo.

Tim Jackson, the campaign chair for the 2013 drive and Vice President of University Relations with the University of Waterloo, said this fund raising drive is an opportunity for the public to invest in their community.

"The community is going through a real transition," Jackson said, pointing to the shifting economy in Waterloo Region from a base of textiles and automotive manufacturing to new industries.

"The needs in our community are greater than they have ever been. Whether it's hungry children, whether it's new comers to the community," he said. "I think this is a chance for our community to come together to say 'we're going to invest in the programs that the United Way supports and build a healthier, stronger community.' "

Jan Varner, the Chief Executive Officer of the United Way KW, said setting a target of $5.1 million helps to put into perspective what is "really needed to make a difference."

"$5.1 million is probably not even enough anyway," she said. "But it's what we think we can handle in this community right now."

Some of the organizations the United Way KW supports include Mosaic Counselling, KW Counselling, House of Friendship, YMCA, YWCA and Strong Start.

The final tally will be announced at United Way KW's Community Spirit Awards.