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Nonprofits hope donors show some love

FARGO - Area nonprofit groups hope that after you give your Valentine something sweet today, you have a little love left over for them, too. Today is the fifth annual Giving Hearts Day, a 24-hour fundraising event during which online donations of...

Giving Hearts Day
© 2012 Impact Foundation All Rights Reserved

FARGO - Area nonprofit groups hope that after you give your Valentine something sweet today, you have a little love left over for them, too.

Today is the fifth annual Giving Hearts Day, a 24-hour fundraising event during which online donations of $10 or more to area groups will be matched by Dakota Medical Foundation.

The event took in more than $1.1 million last year before matching grants were added to the total. This year, "we'd all be ecstatic if we could get to the $1.5 million mark," said Jennifer Thompson, DMF's director of development.

The drive includes 140 nonprofits. Donations are taken at the Impact Foundation web site at http://www.impactgiveback.org/ .

Each donation of $10 or more is matched up to $4,000 for each group. The top seven fundraisers also get incentive grants, ranging from $20,000 for first place to $1,500 for seventh.

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Other cash incentives are given to groups for having the most donors; donors from the most cities or states; or for most creative marketing. The largest donor also gets to pick a group to get an extra $500, Thompson said.

For Fargo's Fraser Ltd., Giving Hearts Day pumps vital financial lifeblood into their initiatives.

"It's a great event! We get pretty excited for this," said Sandra Leyland, Fraser's executive director.

While adult mental health services get substantial state support, funding for children with special needs or for at-risk or homeless teens is harder to come by, Leyland said.

"This makes a big difference for kids," she said.

Similarly, Cultural Diversity Resources, which provides interpreter training and services, along with a range of initiatives for refugees and immigrants, welcomes the financial boost.

"I think it's a great opportunity. It's just wonderful," said Executive Director Yoke-Sim Gunaratne.

Last year's Giving Hearts Day pulled in more than 7,000 online donations totaling more than $1,165,000, the Impact Foundation said. That was pushed to more than $1,555,000 with matching and incentive funds from DMF and other donors.

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That's a big leap from the event's start in 2008, when there were $325,000 in donations and $165,000 in matching funds.

Thompson said planning and training for Giving Hearts Day has been going on for four months.

The $10 minimum donation is affordable by most people, and can be made with a computer or other mobile device, she said.

"There are a lot of organizations, a lot of vulnerable people and populations, that need help," Thompson said. "It's a way for a lot of small organizations to raise a tremendous amount of money."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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