More Bismarck-Mandan charities are participating in this year’s Giving Hearts Day, a regional fundraising event that raised $10.7 million last year.
During the 24-hour online giving event on Thursday, donations of $10 or more will be matched to at least $4,000 per nonprofit.
“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Mackenzie Schmaltz, marketing manager for Northern Plains Dance in Bismarck.
The event, organized by the Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation and Alex Stern Family Foundation, will raise money for 430 charities in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
In Bismarck-Mandan, 43 nonprofits are participating, an increase of at least seven from last year, said Pat Traynor, executive director of the Impact Foundation.
“We’re so proud of the charities and the generous people that put those matches up,” Traynor said.
The Bismarck Public Schools Foundation has $10,000 in matching funds to support the inclusive sports program, which aims to provide opportunities for students of all abilities. The program features flag football in the fall, bowling in the winter and track in the spring.
Kayla Effertz Kleven, executive director of the foundation, said the goal is to raise $20,000 to establish an endowment for the program.
“It gives the program a little bit of permanency,” she said.
The Missouri Slope Areawide United Way has $5,000 in matching funds available on Thursday, with all donations benefiting a temporary emergency shelter for men, women and children.
The United Way has been providing emergency housing since Bismarck’s only homeless shelter abruptly closed last fall, and now is fundraising for a more permanent location.
“This isn’t just a need in the community, it’s a crisis in this community,” said Patrick Finken, who is volunteering to help with fundraising and development of the project.
United Way’s goal is to raise $25,000 for the homeless shelter on Thursday, Finken said.
Last year, Giving Hearts Day raised about $826,000 for Bismarck-Mandan charities, not including statewide organizations that also serve local communities, Traynor said.
Organizers for Giving Hearts Day hope to see 50,000 people donate on Thursday, up from last year’s total of 22,000.
On average, each participant has donated to 2.3 causes, Traynor said.
“The biggest impact that it does besides the dollars that it raises is the awareness for the different foundations and nonprofits,” Effertz Kleven said.
The Bismarck-Mandan organizations participating, ranging from social service organizations to the arts, serve more than 60,000 people in the local communities each year.
Visit www.givingheartsday.org to donate and to see a list of charities participating. Donors also can drop off checks on Thursday to participating nonprofits.
A kickoff event is planned for 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the North Dakota Heritage Center, which will provide people an opportunity to get to know the local charities.