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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 15 2012

Giving Hearts Day donations top $1.6 million

FARGO – There was lots of love for area nonprofits Tuesday, with more than $1.6 million donated to those groups during the fifth annual Giving Hearts Day.

The Valentine’s Day event’s record online donations were up 45 percent from last year’s total, said Jennifer Thompson, director of development for Dakota Medical Foundation.

More than 9,000 people donated to charity at the Impact Foundation website, she said Wednesday.

Each donation of $10 or more was matched up to $4,000 for each group in the event. Plus, other incentive grants were available.

Thompson expects more than $2 million in donations will be shared among the 140 nonprofits that took part in the 24-hour fund-raising event when matching funds from DMF and other donors are added to the tally.

“We are just thrilled by the outpouring of support by people not only across our region, or our state, but across the United States,” Thompson said Wednesday.

Donations were made online at the Impact Foundation web site. The site was so busy at times that it could not immediately produce receipts, Thompson said. Those receipts should be emailed to donors in the next couple days, she said.

Exact figures for the event are still being audited, Thompson said.

The top seven fundraisers will get incentive grants ranging from $20,000 for first place to $1.500 for seventh.

Thompson said it is too early to declare any incentive winners because in a couple of cases, the groups are within a couple hundred dollars of each other.

The top seven fund-raisers are a powerful draw, bringing in more than $630,000, she said.

Other cash incentives will go to groups for having the most donors; donors from the most cities or states; or for most creative marketing.

Earlier this week, Thompson said organizers would have been ecstatic to hit the $1.5 million mark, which would have been well above the 10 or 20 percent increases most nonprofits seek in annual fundraising.

“It’s truly amazing,” she said. “Everyone who part in Giving Hearts Day did an outstanding job. … It truly is a community effort.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583