PEORIA — Employees and retirees from Caterpillar Inc. together pledged more than $5 million to United Way agencies across the country this year, adding up to a total of more than $11 million in donations with the Caterpillar Foundation's dollar-for-dollar match.

In addition to the $5.6 million pledged by employees and retirees as part of the 2017-2018 campaign — marking more than six decades of the United Way being Caterpillar's only corporate-sponsored charitable solicitation — special events sponsored by employees raised more than $110,000 in donations provided directly to United Way agencies.

Since the Caterpillar Foundation began matching pledges, employees and retirees have been able to direct their donations to specific United Way chapters, allowing those contributions to fund programs in communities across the country.

Caterpillar Foundation President Michelle Sullivan said in a release announcing the $11.2 million in total donations that the mission of the United Way fits with Caterpillar's corporate ethos.

“Just as our company looks for the most impactful return on investment in the course of its business, the Caterpillar Foundation focuses on root cause investments that have the greatest impact on poverty alleviation," Sullivan said. "That’s why the United Way is such a great fit — it assesses the community needs and finds efficient programs that deliver measurable outcomes through hundreds of United Way-funded agencies."

Heart of Illinois United Way President Michael Stephan said the Caterpillar Foundation's commitment to the United Way stands out in his decades with the organization.

"In my thirty years working for United Ways across the country, I have never experienced a more caring and compassionate company that is committed to partnering with us to ensure vital health and human care programs are available that positively impact the education, income and health of our communities,” Stephan said.