Over $1 million donated to local nonprofits during The Amazing Raise

With the 36-hour donation marathon over, organizers have announced that over $1 million has been raised.

Update #2 — September 21st, 7:25 AM

The Amazing Raise has earned over $1.2 million for area nonprofits in 36 hours from over 15,000 individual donations. The amount eclipses last year’s result of $631,000.

“It’s all how individuals have come together to beat last year’s totals,” said Kimberly Russell, Vice President of Communications at The Community Foundation, organizers of the event. “The biggest difference [over last year] is the tremendous support we’ve seen.” She said that the results underscore what The Community Foundation has known for years: “That we live in a very generous community.”

The Amazing Raise awards prize money to the top three organizations based on the number of their eligible gifts $50 and up–not the sum of total donations.

The organization with the most individual donations, Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation, took in 856 gifts, totaling $81,588. In addition to local contributors, donations poured in from 49 states and 27 countries spanning six continents.

While she could only speculate why this year’s event raised more money over last year, Russell suggested that it was the larger number of participating nonprofits and their improved coordination for the event. “The organizations have been that much more prepared,” she said. The Community Foundation hopes this preparation has netted new donors to local nonprofits.

“Our goal was that this would infuse new charitable donations,” said Russell. “We hope it’s brought new people to local philanthropy.” Russell said that no discussions have occurred regarding The Amazing Raise returning next year.

2012’s winners

This year’s organizations with the most eligible gifts, and their subsequent prize are:

Bonus prize winners

Hilliard House Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
James River Association Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
Richmond Shakespeare Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
Virginia Health Care Foundation Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
Virginia Mentoring Partnership Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
Bay School Community Arts Center Notable Newcomer $1,000
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. Most Improved $1,000
Fredericksburg Academy Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
Fredericksburg Academy Procrastinator’s Prize $1,000
Blue Sky Fun Long Distance Donor $1,000
FeedMore 15,000th Gift $2,500
Safe Harbor “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Virginia Mentoring Partnership “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Henrico CASA, Inc. Million Dollar Baby $5,000
U-Turn “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Boaz and Ruth, Inc. “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Freedom House “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Church Hill Activities and Tutoring Afternoon Sprint #3 $500
The Library of Virginia Foundation “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Elijah House Academy “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. Afternoon Sprint #2 $500
James River Writer “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Peter Paul Development Center, Inc. “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Bay School Community Arts Center “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Mary and Frances Youth Center ”Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Richmond SPCA “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
ROSMY Afternoon Spirit #1 $500
Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers, Inc. “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Fredericksburg Academy Lunch Break #2 $1,000
Access Now, Inc. “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Richmond Symphony 12,500th Gift $2,500
Cross Over Ministry, Inc. “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
FeedMore “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Rappahannock Legal Services, Inc. “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
A Small Comfort “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlantic “Second Wind” Prize $1,000
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. Coffee Break $1,000
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. Jackpot Prize $5,000
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. Rush Hour $1,000
James House Intervention Prevention 10,000th Gift $2,500
Richmond Christian Leadership Night Owl <$1,000
Miracle League of Richmond, Virginia, Inc. Midnight Madness $1,000
Monument City Music Productions, Inc. Primetime Prize $1,000
Full Circle Grief Center Sunset Special $1,000
Richmond Symphony 7,500th Gift $2,000
Blue Sky Fund Luck of the Draw $500
Monument City Music Productions, Inc. Luck of the Draw $500
Richmond SPCA Luck of the Draw $500
Blue Sky Fund Luck of the Draw $500
Fredericksburg Academy Lunch Break #1 $1,000
A Small Comfort 5,000th Gift $1,500
Elegba Folklore Society Incorporated Raise the Bar $1,000
Fairfield Foundation TBS 2,500th Gift $1,000
Comfort Zone Camp Start the Commotion Promotion $1,000

— ∮∮∮ —

Update #1 — September 19th, 6:30 PM

24 hours down with 12 to go and The Amazing Raise has raised almost $690,000 for area nonprofits. At the moment, last year’s winner, Church Hill Activities & Tutoring leads all nonprofits with 408 eligible gifts and $38,855 raised.

— ∮∮∮ —

Original — September 19th, 6:30 AM

Today, approximately 450 local nonprofits will compete for public donations and prizes totaling over $100,000 during a 36-hour donation blitz called The Amazing Raise.

Organized by The Community Foundation, which has provided stewardship of local endowments since 1968, this year’s event increases both the number of participating nonprofits and the amount of prizes available.

“We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Kimberly Russell, Vice President of communications at The Community Foundation, about last year’s inaugural event. It drew nearly 6,500 individual donations, amounting to just under $500,000. Coupled with the prizes, last year’s event raised $631,000 for 270 organizations. “We were very pleased,” said Russell.

She recalled one local nonprofit, Blue Sky Fund, an organization that helps children from urban areas enjoy nature and outdoor education, was hesitant to participate in last year’s marathon. Ultimately, the group decided to participate. Donors catapulted it into a top 20 finish. “Those kind of success stories happened,” said Russell. Perhaps the biggest success was last year’s winner.

Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT) provides tutoring and life skills to residents and families in Church Hill neighborhoods. Caitlin Barnes, CHAT’s communications and development director, said that the organization felt that The Amazing Raise was a way to generate a high pay-off with minimal effort. “We have a very far-reaching network,” said Barnes. That network quickly put CHAT into fourth place…then third…then second. Soon, CHAT lead all nonprofits with the amount of donors that had contributed at least $50. CHAT ended up winning the $10,000 grand prize. “It was a blessing to our operating budget,” said Barnes.

The prize money went toward opening two additional tutoring sites. CHAT also purchased a building on 31st and N streets to serve as a high school, which they hope to open in February 2013. CHAT needs an additional $120,000 to complete the project. Barnes thinks that this year’s Amazing Raise can help them reach that goal. “We’re excited to see what happens.” She said the excitement and buzz created by The Amazing Raise is a “positive thing to have in our city.”

This year’s Amazing Raise has increased the number of participating nonprofits to 450 and doubled the prize money for the organization with the most donations of $50 or more to $20,000. Second place will receive $15,000, third $10,000. Organizations can also earn prize money through one of 24 bonuses.

For instance, the Rush Hour prize will award $1,000 to the organization that receives the most donations between 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM on September 20th. Another is at the Long Distance Donor prize, awarding $1,000 to the organization that receives a donation from the farthest locale throughout the marathon (click here for a full list of prizes). All told, $113,000 in prize money will be distributed to nonprofits–supplementing the money raised through individual donations.

Donations will funnel through GiveRichmond.Org. Created in October 2010 by the Community Foundation, the website provides overviews of nonprofits and serves as a database for the public. It also discloses the financial information of listed organizations. “We think it’s important for nonprofits to provide that transparency,” said Russell. The more information the public has about organizations, the more confident the public will be in donating to them.

The Community Foundation hopes the 450 nonprofits participating in this year’s Amazing Raise will expand the city’s donor base, using the hype and excitement to generate significant money. Russell said The Amazing Raise makes donating to nonprofits all the more “fun, easy, and accessible.”

The Amazing Raise will take place Wednesday, September 19th 6:00 AM through Thursday, September 20th 6:00 PM.

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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