'Raise the Region' met with generosity
WILLIAMSPORT - Tuesday's Raise the Region event from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) was an outstanding success, raising more than $600,000 for 161 nonprofit organizations in a six-county region.
As of 9:30 p.m., donors had given approximately 3,902 gifts totalling $643,615. The 24-hour event was to end at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, when the total already passed a half-million dollars, the new online fundraising event had already gone "beyond what we thought," said Erin Ruhl, FCFP director of community relations.
Thrilled with results
Representatives from two local organizations, Central Susquehanna Opportunities (CSO) Inc. and the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities, were thrilled with the results. As of 9:30 p.m., CSO's total was $9,010 and the arts council's was $4,000.
The Lycoming County United Way was leading the way at 9:30 p.m. with the most funds raised, receiving 42 gifts totaling $44,505.
"I'm at a board meeting and we are watching the numbers go up and we are all very excited about this," Gale Zalar, community action director for CSO, said late Tuesday afternoon. "It is just amazing what is going on with this."
"Everyone has really jumped on board," said NCCAH director Jeanne Shaffer said soon after on Tuesday. "I've gotten calls from people who have said they pledged or just calling me to congratulate us on winning an incentive prize. It's amazing."
The $1,000 prize, in addition to the other contributions, came from a pool of $37,500 in incentive prizes donated by Autotrakk and Larson Design Groups. NCCAH's prize came from a $10,000 Powerful Communities Prize after being selected in a random drawing after having received a donation before 10 a.m.
Both Zalar and Shaffer said that some donors were waiting for the 7 p.m. hour to make a donation when another $1,000 "founders award" was being awarded to the group that received a donation closest to 7:16 p.m., or 19:16 in military time, matching the year FCFP was founded.
Shaffer said the event - and the funds - come at a welcome time, because NCCAH is continuing with a community mural project and working to get the Kallaway Center for the Arts on Lincoln Street up and running.
She likes the idea that she doesn't have to wait to find out whether the group will get any money, and how much, as with a grant application.
"This is instantaneous," she said.
Zalar said that there is no set plan for CSO's funds at this time.
In addition to the public's donations, which were for $25 and up, the organizations will benefit from $125,000 in matching funds from the Blaise Alexander Family of Dealerships. The total collected will be divided into the $125,000 to determine how much is given to each of the 161 groups. For example, $125,000 divided by $500,000 would equal 25 cents. Twenty-five cents would then be multiplied by each organization's dollar amount donated to determine their additional take from Blaise Alexander dealership's $125,000. So if a group raised $5,000, it would get another $1,250.
All in all, everyone was pleased with the one-day event and the generosity of the area.
"We all know that 'non-profit' means 'struggle' in raising funds," Shaffer said. "I'm glad we are doing well and that everyone is doing well and raising so much. When we all do good, the community benefits."