Anonymous donor's terms spark giving

Promise of matching funds spurs three groups to raise more than $10,000 each

January 02, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |

WASHINGTON COUNTY — The promise of matching funds from an anonymous donor led to an overwhelming surge in donations for three local organizations in November and December, directors of those organizations said.

REACH Caregivers, Holly Place and the Community Free Clinic of Washington County announced in early November that a donor offered to match, dollar for dollar, any donations to those groups through Dec. 15, up to $10,000 for each organization.

By that Dec. 15 deadline, all three organizations raised far more than the $10,000 needed to maximize the match, directors said.

"We actually in that time frame got in $72,000," said REACH Executive Director Jodi Stock. "It's incredible. We feel extremely blessed by that."

Holly Place Executive Director Melanie Davis said her organization raised more than $20,000 by the Dec. 15 deadline.

Robin Roberson, executive director of the Community Free Clinic, didn't have fundraising totals on hand when contacted for this story, but said the amount raised was well more than $10,000.

REACH runs a cold-weather homeless shelter and provides other types of assistance to people in need. Holly Place is a nonprofit assisted-living facility for low-income seniors. The Community Free Clinic provides medical care and prescription medication to Washington County residents who don't have health insurance.

Stock said the funds raised would go to help fund case management to help people who stay at the shelter get their lives back on track.

That program has had great success so far this winter, with 14 people successfully placed in permanent housing or treatment programs within the first six weeks the shelter was open, Stock said.

When the fundraising challenge was announced, REACH was facing a budget deficit of about $54,000 due to lagging donations and reductions in grant funding, Stock said then.

She said publicity about the matching funds "unquestionably" led to a boost in donations.

"It gave people the catalyst," she said. "It drew attention to the situation we have been experiencing financially."

However, that doesn't mean the organization doesn't still need additional help.

"We have the other half of the budget we still need to make and we still have three months of the cold-weather shelter being open, so we still need goods and supplies donations to keep that going," Stock said.

Donations to Holly Place will go toward operating expenses and keeping its doors open, Davis said.

At the clinic, funding is needed to help serve an "ever-increasing" number of patients, Roberson has said.

The directors said the donor followed through on his promise and provided $10,000 to each organization.

"I think it's amazing what one person with the right heart and the right motivation can do for a community," Stock said.

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