Campaign raises $800,000 in 24 hours for region

More than $800,000 was donated to 161 nonprofit organization during the 24-hour fundraiser Raise the Region 2013 on Tuesday.

“All throughout the day we were thrilled with the response of the region,” said Jennifer D. Wilson, First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania CEO and president.

The partnership, which hosted the event, invited nonprofit organizations from the partnership’s six coverage counties – Lycoming, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union – to participate in the completely online fundraiser.

Through donors from all six counties, the event raised $726,827. Blaise Alexander Family Dealership chipped in an additional $125,000 to match portions of donations. Monetary prizes totaling $37,500 were awarded by Larson Design Group and Auto Trakk to organizations throughout Tuesday, as well. The figures give the event a total of $889,327 raised in 24 hours.

Wilson said the three business partners’ contributions made a difference.

“We were thrilled to be the catalyst but they really provided the opportunity,” she said.

Lycoming County United Way received the most funding during the event. The organization raised $45,130 from 45 donors.

Scott N. Lowery, United Way executive director, said it was a “plus” to the organization’s funding because a bulk of its fundraising is done in the fall.

The United Way reached out to a select group of donors who have given in the past and informed them of the event. Lowery said there were no expectations for how much would be raised.

“I was pleased with the results,” Lowery said, “but we didn’t say ‘we want to raise $30,000, or $50,000.’ “

The Lycoming County SPCA collected the second most individual donors overall and the most from Lycoming County, with 144.

SPCA Director Victoria Stryker said she was “in awe” of the amount of support her organization received.

“Honestly, I had no expectations because there were … (161) nonprofits and they were all wonderful organizations,” she said. “And when you think about that many organizations, you wonder how many people have that much money to give (to a number of nonprofits).”

And although Stryker noticed some familiar faces, she saw new donors as well.

“It was fabulous,” she said. “I was in awe of how wonderful it was. And when I saw the people that donated, I saw many that were familiar and some that were new.”

Wilson was “thrilled” by the amount of money raised during the event but added that the partnership’s focus was on raising awareness for the participating organizations.

Lowery and Stryker said the mission was accomplished, as they both mentioned seeing nonprofits on the website that they never heard of before.

“They got exposure that they might not have gotten otherwise,” said Lowery, on learning about other nonprofits in the area.

Lowery said the partnership deserved congratulations on providing such a unique fundraiser to the region. Stryker agreed, saying that it’s often difficult to create new fundraising ideas.

“It was fun,” she said. “And it’s very difficult to make a fundraising event new and interesting and exciting. I have to say this was.”

Above all, the region’s residents stepped up to the plate.

“Clearly, we live in a community filled with charitable people who are passionate about the organizations closest to their heart,” Wilson said.