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Published February 12, 2014, 07:44 PM

Local nonprofits ready for day-long ‘Giving Hearts’ fundraiser

A non profit organizations across the region are set to benefit from Thursday’s annual Giving Hearts Day fundraiser, which drummed up more than $3.7 million in donations last year.

By: Charly Haley, Grand Forks Herald

A non profit organizations across the region are set to benefit from Thursday’s annual Giving Hearts Day fundraiser, which drummed up more than $3.7 million in donations last year.

Fifteen Grand Forks organizations are on the list to benefit from Dakota Medical Foundation’s Giving Hearts Day, but there are several other North Dakota and western Minnesota nonprofits near Grand Forks, as well as statewide organizations that would benefit the area, said Pat Traynor, executive director of Dakota Medical Foundation and the Impact Foundation.

People can donate to Giving Hearts Day at www.impactgiveback.org. The 24-hour donation clock starts at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, and goes until midnight, Traynor said. Donations made in that time will be matched up to a set amount by the Dakota Medical foundation or other sponsors like the Alex Stern Family Foundation and the Bush Foundation, he said.

Local giving

Several local nonprofits find Giving Hearts Day to be a simple and fun way to raise funds and awareness.

“It’s just such a nice source of funds for us,” said Debra Johnson, executive director of Prairie Harvest Mental Health. Unlike some fundraisers, this one isn’t as straining on staff, because of the sponsor match, she said. Money that Prairie Harvest receives through the fundraiser will go toward its job development programs for people suffering mental illness.

The way Giving Hearts Day is set up online makes it easy for people to donate to several nonprofits at once if they want to, Johnson said.

Edie Dahlen, director of planning and finance for the Community Violence Intervention Center, agreed, saying, “It’s easy, it’s simple and it’s just an amazing fundraiser.”

CVIC puts its Giving Hearts dollars toward its programs with most need each year, Dahlen said, to help victims of domestic violence and to raise awareness of the issue.

Not only does Giving Hearts Day provide an easy way to donate, but there’s a range of organizations to donate to, Traynor said. “There’s something there for everyone.”

Events

Some local organizations are also organizing Giving Hearts Day events for Thursday.

There’s the “Feed Grandma Rock-a-thon” at the Grand Forks Senior Center from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with games and activities, said Becky Cournia, development officer. Cournia said the senior center puts its Giving Hearts dollars toward its nutrition programs, which include meals served at the senior center as well as those delivered through Meals on Wheels.

Anne Carlsen Center in Grand Forks is also hosting an event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wild Hog Smokehouse Bar and Grill, where donors can earn a free appetizer, said Jody Vigness, director of the Carlsen center in Grand Forks.

With more than 225 clients, Anne Carlsen provides one-on-one care for individuals with special needs both at clients’ homes and in the community, Vigness said.

And Northlands Rescue Mission will have a table set up at the Coffee Company in Grand Forks, where donors will be able to receive different awards, from a free coffee to free coffee beans, depending on how much they donate to the Mission for Giving Hearts Day, said Beth Ayash, assistant development director.

Generosity

The reason Giving Hearts Day has continued to be successful in helping about 200 organizations is the region’s desire to give, Traynor said.

“We overall live in a very kind, generous region,” he said.

And it’s easier to raise awareness when there are many organizations together, rather than each group working separately, Traynor said.

“This whole thing is about teaching organizations to fish — you know, fundraising,” he said. Organizations participating in Giving Hearts Day also participate in fundraising training.

Overall, local nonprofit officials said they appreciate the generosity of donors and the organization of the Giving Hearts fundraiser.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity,” Dahlen said.

List of Grand Forks fundraisers participating in Giving Hearts Day

Donate to the following Grand Forks area organizations through Giving Hearts Day, Thursday, at www.impactgiveback.org. The majority of donations will be matched by sponsors.

Altru Family YMCA

Altru Health Foundation

Community Violence Intervention Center

Empire Arts Center

Grand Forks Parks and Recreation Foundation / Grand Forks Park District

Grand Forks Senior Center

Northland Christian Counseling Center

Northlands Rescue Mission

Prairie Harvest Mental Health

Riverside Christian School

Special Olympics North Dakota

Sunshine Memorial Foundation

The Women's Pregnancy Center

Third Street Clinic

UND Foundation — Nursing Department

Note: Some organizations with chapters in Grand Forks but headquartered elsewhere are not on this list.

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