Guy Clairoux

Guy Clairoux, a former addict who spent time in jail, credited a leadership training program funded by the United Way with helping him mature and become an active volunteer in his community. (CBC)

The United Way in Ottawa raised $16.7 million for its own work in 2013, but fell short of its $21 million fundraising goal.

The local arm of the charity raises money for both its own programs and on behalf of local charity partners, but last September representatives said they wanted to count those totals separately.

Campaign co-chair Goldy Hyder says for eighty years, the United Way set its fundraising goal based on what people in Ottawa might give.

But in recent years, it saw less money going to the United Way programs, and more people giving to charities of their own choice.

So this year it set an ambitious target of $21 million it needed only for United Way's work.

Hyder said 60,000 people in Ottawa would benefit from this year's United Way money.

But he said they want to help 16,000 more.

"Now we're able to have an honest conversation with the people of Ottawa to say, 'Thank you for your generosity but there are still people who need more, and we need your support,' he said.

In addition to the $16.7 million, another $12.6 million was raised for more than 3,800 other registered Canadian charities for a total raised of $29.3 million.

Both numbers are down from the previous year, when the charity brought in $30.6 million in total, with $16.8 million going to support the United Way's community’s priority goals.