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Two local non-profits on giveMN top 50 leaderboard

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On Nov. 16, giveMN.org hosted Give to the Max Day, an online fundraising drive for Minnesota non-profits. Two Hastings organizations garnered enough support to place them in the top 50 donation recipients in the greater Minnesota region. More than 3,600 non-profits participated in Give to the Max Day across the state, divided into two regions: greater Minnesota and Twin Cities.

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Gifts for education

The Hastings Public Schools Foundation had 65 people donate a total of $2,860, putting the foundation 42nd on the list. Organizations were ranked by number of donors, not dollar amount. The 50 non-profits that received the highest number of individual donors were posted on giveMN.org's Give to the Max Day leaderboard.

"It never occurred to me that we could be on that list," said Leslie Nielsen, foundation board member.

The foundation has been a giveMN.org member for about nine months, Nielsen said. Foundation members had spread the word ahead of time to friends, school staff, parents and others, letting them know about Give to the Max Day.

"...And all of the sudden we were in the top 50," Nielsen said.

People can donate at any time online through giveMN.org, but Nov. 16 was special. Not only was it a competition for extra funds through giveMN.org, but for Hastings Public Schools Foundation, it was also a day for a matching grant, turning $2,860 into more than $5,600.

All that money is being put into an endowment account. Interest earned on that account is used to fund annual grants for teachers who want to try new things in their classrooms - things that perhaps are too unproven to spend taxpayer dollars on. Funding from HPSF, however, allows teachers to think outside the box and find innovative ways to educate their students.

The foundation gives $60,000 a year in grants, Nielsen said. By only using the interest on the account, the foundation can ensure that money will always be available for grants.

Gifts for those in need

Hastings Family Service came in 24th on the list of top donor recipients. Ninety-four people donated a total of $8,720 Nov. 16.

"We were thrilled with the results," said HFS resource development director Amy Sutton.

HFS has been a giveMN.org member about a year, having joined about the same time the website launched. HFS hadn't focused much on online giving before that, Sutton explained, but the past year has shown them how valuable it is.

"This whole idea really helped us realize that online giving is here to stay, and it really is an easy way for people to give," Sutton said.

In just 13 months, HFS went from receiving fewer than 10 online donations ever to receiving nearly 300. The organization has received about $32,000 just from online donations, Sutton said.

"It's just overwhelming what people are doing to help right now," Sutton said.

HFS is excited about Give to the Max Day results for another reason, too.

"We're happy that Second Harvest Heartland finished first in the Twin Cities," Sutton said, "because they are who we purchase our food from at 12 cents a pound."

Second Harvest Heartland received about $242,000 from 2,071 donors, earning them the top spot on giveMN.org's leaderboard. They also received $100,000 in matching funds and a $20,000 award for having the most donors.

Continued giving

Donations to both Hastings Family Service and Hastings Public Schools Foundation can be made at any time online on giveMN.org. There are other Hastings non-profits also accepting online donations on the site. A zip code search allows donors to quickly find nearby projects and organizations.

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Katrina Styx
Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
(651) 319-4501
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