Giving Challenge Raises Funds and Spirits



The Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s 2016 Giving Challenge concluded yesterday at noon, raising a total of $13,386,909 in 24 hours to support the 559 participating nonprofits located in or serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. With $5.6 million coming from the 63,567 community donations and $7.5 in matching funds from The Patterson Foundation, the event set a new record for the highest grossing 24-hour giving day in the southeastern United States. According to preliminary numbers, Cat Depot raised the most with $104,596 coming from 1,111 gifts, while Honor Sanctuary enjoyed similar success with $100,171 coming from 1,313 gifts.

The International Waldenstroms Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF), an organization dedicated to supporting those affected by this rare cancer of the lymphatic system and ongoing research for a cure, finished the 2016 Challenge with an impressive $96,178 from 851 donors—an unexpected but welcome result that will have a real impact on the organization and those they serve, says IWMF Media and Development Specialist Rikki Miller: “It’s beyond amazing.”

There was no fancy gimmick or showy display, just good old-fashioned community engagement, according to Miller. A combination of emails and social media outreach got the word out some, but she largely credits an earnest word-of-mouth effort from everyone at IWMF from the board on down and a “very active, very engaged” support community. And it’s support that Miller knows will not go unnoticed. “A lot of patients can feel really alone because it is such a rare disease,” she says. “This is neat because it helps show that there are a lot of people that care and that people with Waldenstroms aren’t alone. They’re supported. They’re very enthusiastically supported.”

As for IWMF itself, Miller reports that with this support the organization is already preparing to send out its next Request for Proposals, soliciting research proposals to be considered for support from IWMF, in addition to the $1.7-million commitment made this past summer to other Waldenstroms-related research initiatives.

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