United Way of King County said it raised nearly $120 million in its annual fundraising drive, $19 million more than last year's campaign.

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United Way of King County said it raised nearly $120 million in its annual fundraising drive, which ended in June, $19 million more than last year’s campaign.

The local chapter also led the nation in total donations.

While donors responded to growing needs in the community, the United Way also attributed the rise to results of programs focused on homelessness, basic needs and early learning.

More than 1,400 housing units were opened in the past several years as part of a joint effort to address chronic homelessness by United Way, the city of Seattle, King County and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. An early-learning program for low-income families funds home visits to help parents improve their child’s education.

The 2011 campaign was led by co-chairs Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and Kathy Surace-Smith, a Seattle attorney.

Of the $119.6 million total, $68.1 million was raised by United Way on behalf of other local nonprofits, while $50.9 million was given directly to United Way of King County for its programs.

The United Way raised $100.3 million in 2010; $101.7 million in 2009 and $119.4 million in 2008. This year’s total comes close to the $124.6 million raised in 2007 before the recession.

“What’s really remarkable,” said Surace-Smith, “is just how much the people and businesses of King County stepped up this year.”