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Charly Haley, Published February 14 2013

Giving Hearts fundraiser tops goal by more than $1.6 million

FARGO – Dakota Medical Foundation bested its $2 million fundraising goal for Thursday’s Giving Hearts fundraiser by more than $1.6 million.

As of 10:45 p.m. the foundation said on its website that it had raised $3.6 million, but Giving Hearts reached its goal around 4 p.m., when it had more than $2.1 million in donations.

It was the first time the fundraiser has reached its goal so early in the day in its five years, said Pat Traynor, the Dakota Medical Foundation president.

“That’s why we’re so ecstatic,” Traynor said. “It’s incredible. It’s nothing short of amazing.”

The foundation and other community donors matched all of the donations of $10 or more at www.impactgive

back.org through midnight.

As of 8:30 p.m., Traynor said the donation rate was highest around 7 to 10 a.m., with a spike around 5 to 6 p.m. He expected another spike around 9 or 10 p.m. after TV newscasts.

“The awareness level for this day of giving is extremely high,” Traynor said. “There are kind and generous people in this region – they just need to be asked.”

There were 179 nonprofits to choose from when donating on Giving Hearts Day.

As of 8 p.m., the top recipients were FirstChoice Clinic with more than $190,000, YWCA of Cass and Clay Counties at about $171,000, YMCA of Cass and Clay at about $95,000, North Dakota Autism Center with about $86,000 and Oak Grove Lutheran School with about $84,000.

“It means a lot,” said Marcia Paulson, director of marketing and development at Great Plains Food Bank. “For us, it means food for a lot of people across North Dakota.”

As of 6:30 p.m., Great Plains had $37,000 in donations, Paulson said. Each of those dollars buys four meals, she said, and the number of meals is totaled when the donations are matched by the organizations associated with Giving Hearts.

Giving Hearts also has other monetary prizes for participating nonprofits, including $15,000 for the organization with the most donations. There are awards for the top 10 recipients, as well as other prize categories including the organization with donations from the most states, or donations from the most North Dakota cities.

Last year, Giving Hearts took in $1.6 million.

“We’re very pleased that we’ve exceeded the goal,” Traynor said.

He said Giving Hearts is a testament to the generous people of the region, and also to the hardworking nonprofits.

“It’s so nice to see these groups do really well,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311

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