Despite the economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, donors contributed more than $30 million to nonprofit organizations and schools as part of GiveMN’s 12th annual Give to the Max Day Nov. 19.
The record giving of nearly $30.5 million to more than 6,000 Minnesota charities — themselves struggling with the fallout from the pandemic — easily exceeded the $21.7 million that was raised last year.
“We are right now, this past hour, averaging two donations a second,” said Jake Blumberg, executive director of GiveMN, on Thursday morning. “We’re incredibly optimistic that organizations throughout the state are going to be getting much needed funds to meet what is just unprecedented levels of need.”
GiveMN is the organization that spearheads the philanthropic initiative that features 24 hours of online giving.
Through the first 11 years of Give to the Max Day, donors have given more than $190 million to more than 10,000 nonprofits and schools statewide. It categorizes the nonprofit recipients by size: small, medium, intermediate and large.
The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, located in St. Paul, is one of the nonprofits led by people of color that fundraised the largest amount of donations to their cause during Give to the Max Day.
“It has been really successful, and we’re just so thankful for the outpouring of support that we’ve seen from our community,” said Veena Iyer, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center. “One of the things that we think is really making a difference this year … is the fact that GiveMN created some additional filters that folks could use in determining the type of organizations that they wanted to give to.”
FILTER BY RECIPIENT
GiveMN’s filters allow donors to search specifically for organizations that are led by or serve Black people, Indigenous people and people of color, as well as nonprofits heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Iyer said these filters helped significantly, considering their organization serves low-income immigrants and communities with racial minorities.
“We think that that’s just a reflection of the deep commitment that folks in Minnesota have right now, particularly to making sure to address issues of structural racism including issues within the immigration system.”
Another nonprofit participating in Give to the Max Day, Roseville-based Every Meal — formerly known as The Sheridan Story — works to close the gap in food access for children and students in 31 school districts across Minnesota.
Their most recent challenge comes from Gov. Tim Walz’s Wednesday announcement of a four-week closure of many businesses to fight a surge in coronavirus infections. School districts that provide meals to needy students are also having to decide whether to continue holding classes in person.
“On Tuesday night, we had actually been anticipating the closure,” said Rob Williams, founder and executive director of Every Meal. “We’re urging our community to step up and support (us) financially so we can purchase the food to get it to the kids in this increasingly unstable time.”
Williams said they increased their fundraising goal from $75,000 to $120,000 in response to Walz’s new restrictions. The first $60,000 they receive in donations will be matched by Every Meal supporters.
Every Meal’s food output since the pandemic is 400 percent higher than their output last year, reaching 100,000 meals distributed each week. Williams said they distribute meals via delivery to homes, bus stops or designated pickup locations.