Thanks to a surge in recent donations, The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy is on pace to top $1 million for the third straight year.

An anonymous $60,000 gift, a big bunch of mail, and a jump in credit-card contributions have lifted this year’s midterm total just ahead of last year’s.

As of Dec. 17 last year, the fund had received $556,466 from 2,037 donors. This year on the same date there are fewer donors — 1,881 — but they have given slightly more, $557,187.

“I am thrilled to see this week’s total, as we were off to a slow start this year,” said Alan Fisco, executive vice president for revenue and new products. “The generosity of our almost 1,900 donors so far is not only greatly appreciated by all of us here at The Times, I know our agencies and the thousands they serve appreciate our readers’ generosity even more.”

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

One new donor sent in $500 after reading Nicole Brodeur’s column about why people give, saying Brodeur “inspired us to do the same!”

Several others gave in honor of Nelson Mandela; a few thanked the military.

Other donations came in after Nancy Bartley’s touching Sunday story of a Seattle man caring for his wife with dementia, with help from Senior Services, one of the nonprofit agencies assisted by The Fund For The Needy.

The drive raises money annually for 12 community-service organizations that provide services to hundreds of families every year. Those agencies feed and shelter the homeless, deliver meals to the homebound, distribute clothing, counsel troubled youth, support foster children and offer preschool programs.

Since its inception in 1979, The Fund For The Needy has raised $16.5 million. The first drive collected $107,994.

The record amount came two years ago, $1.159 million. Last year’s total was $1.079 million.

“All I can say,” Fisco concluded, “is thanks very much!”

Bob Young: 206-464-2174 or