Brown County United Way directors, donors and recipients gathered Wednesday for the agency's 2013 Campaign Appreciation luncheon, where it was announced this year's campaign had generated $275,368 in pledges, exceeding the $250,000 goal by more than $25,000.

The 2013 campaign raised funds that have been distributed to 13 United Way member agencies.

Directors recognized businesses whose employees contributed $1,000 or more, as well as the top three businesses: 3M ($78,922); Kohler Company ($50,813); and Brownwood Regional Medical Center ($20,068).

Other businesses whose employees donated $1,000 or more were Atmos Energy, Landmark Life, TexasBank, Citizens National Bank, Kroger, Superior Essex, City of Brownwood, United Parcel Service, Oncor Electric, Brownwood ISD, Central Texas Foundation/J.R. Beadel, DanHil Containers, Howard Payne University, Stephen and Sandra Kelley Foundation, TJJD Ron Jackson, Center for Life Resources, AT&T, Chevron Phillips Performance Pipe, Family Service Center, Enterprise Rent-A Car, TxDOT, The Ark and Federal Express.

A woman who identified herself only by her first name Sheila said she and her children had been helped greatly by the Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Shelter, also known as the Ark, after what she described as mental abuse left her and her children destitute.

Seeking help from the Ark, Sheila said, was "the first step" in seeking help. She said the most vital aspect of the Ark is the anonymity. "What the ark offers is a lifeline," Sheila said. A former business owner, Sheila said she has started over and started a new business.

Dion White, vice president of the United Way board, concluded the program by thanking "you, the people you're literally making a difference in someone's life."

Despite difficulties including an uncertain economy and drought, "we're going to get through this," White said, noting that donors are "going an extra yard to help my fellow human beings have a better life."

3M officials announced its second annual yard sale, which will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the 3M clubhouse. Items sold will be donated to the United Way, and anyone with items to donate for the yard sale can drop them off April 4-5.