The annual Greater Helena Gives campaign has smashed its previous record, bringing in $142,180 from 819 donors, in 24 hours. That is far above the event's previous record of $89,000 in donations for nonprofits around the area.
According to their website, Greater Helena Gives is a 24-hour fundraiser to support the nonprofit organizations in Helena and the surrounding communities. Anyone can go on to the website or to any of the on-site locations to make a donation to the nonprofit(s) of their choice. This is an opportunity to come together and give back to the nonprofit organizations that make our community great!
As of 5 p.m. Friday, the 24-hour event had brought in more than $125,000 for 74 participating nonprofits.
Emily Flemming is executive director of the Helena Area Community Foundation, which has organized the campaign for six years. She said last year’s event brought in about $69,000, and the previous record had been around $89,000.
“We’re really thrilled,” Flemming said. “Nonprofits needed this this year. People are struggling, and more and more people are turning to nonprofits to help them get through this. To see the nonprofits really coming out on top today is just so exciting – I’m on the verge of tears, I’m so happy.”
Leaders said, during the COVID-19 emergency, many Helena nonprofits had a particular need.
“Some organizations get remembered when there’s an emergency, because their services seem extra essential,” said Flemming. “But other nonprofits sometimes get left behind in the wake of an emergency, so this is a really good way for them to also get back and get ready to rebound and reopen.”
Flemming said they didn’t know what to expect from donors this year, since it is a difficult time for many in the community. However, donors stepped up – many of them contributing larger amounts than in previous years.
“We’ve had people make large donations, pointing out that they think Helena’s nonprofits needed their stimulus check more than they did,” she said. “That sentiment just makes me love our Helena community even more –that people will say, ‘Hey, wait, I’m okay, but I know other people aren’t, so let me give even bigger than I would have normally.”
The official 24-hour campaign wraped up Friday at 6 p.m., but Flemming said, this year, people can still donate through May 5 – which some nonprofits are highlighting as a “Giving Tuesday.” If you are interested in donating, you can go to the Greater Helena Gives website .
Flemming said they are grateful for all the support they’ve seen.
“We appreciate Helena,” she said. “This is one of those days where we get a real sense of what our community spirit looks like.”
As donations are still open until May 5th the total amount raised will change. The record is for the 24 hour period where donating was first opened.