Giving Challenge Sees Record Individual Donations



The Giving Challenge returned with a philanthropic pow as community members raised more than $11.7 million in 24 hours for various causes in the region. That includes $6.1 million raised by individual donors before matching dollars, a record for a giving day here. “I know the sun is already shining, but I feel like it’s shining even brighter today thanks to the generosity of so many people in our community,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

A total of 636 nonprofits based in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties participated in The Giving Challenge this year. The event spanned from noon Tuesday through noon Wednesday, during which time some 49,207 donors gave 74,682 gifts. And that doesn’t count $5 million in matching funds from The Patterson Foundation, which matched up to $100 for each donor per receiving organization. "By engaging staff, board and external partners, each organization has built their own philanthropic muscle," says Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. "The Giving Challenge is about so much more than the 24 hours, and The Patterson Foundation was proud to strengthen everyone’s effort with the matching opportunity."

2018 marked a return of the challenge after more than a year hiatus. Murray Devine, communications and marketing manager for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, said after a record year in 2016, philanthropic leaders decided they wanted to move the challenge from September to May, and rather than embarking on an eight-month turnaround before hitting up donors again, the decision was made to wait until 2018 to hold another one-day giving event.

Nonprofits through the region employed various metrics to boast success. Cat Depot, for example, noted that 1,239 donor contributions to that particular nonprofit would provide support for 1,600 cats and kittens saved this year. The $112,019 raised by that organization marked a high among nonprofits raising dollars through the challenge.

The leader in number of donors was Honor Animal Rescue, which received a total of 1,611 gifts worth $100,243. The organization released a video on its Facebook page announced the event had been the best ever for the nonprofit.

Beyond the donations raised, more than $270,000 got awarded in prizes in various categories for large, medium and small nonprofits. Survivors in Sync, for example, picked up a $7,000 prize for having more donors than any other small nonprofit, after raising $22,825 from 350 donors.

Picture courtesy Cat Depot, which raised $112,019 in the 2018 Giving Challenge.

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