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24-hour charity drive puts fun in ‘crowdfunding’

'Give More 24" online fundraising event sees blitz of activities, donations

By , Columbian staff writer

On the Web

The “Give More 24!” window closes at 7 a.m., but you can always give to charity via the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington at

Ice-bucket challenges for charity? That’s so last month.

A local, 24-hour, online crowdfunding event called “Give More 24!” began at 7 a.m. Thursday. Just after 5 p.m., the constantly updated website that tracked donations to nearly 100 local charities throughout the day had logged more than 1,200 individual gifts totalling nearly $260,000 for local charities.

Final totals won’t be available until approximately noon Friday.

Coordinated by the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, the daylong campaign to activate new philanthropists at every level of income and generosity was in keeping with a new world of online giving, according to spokesman Maury Harris. The minimum donation was just $10.

“Philanthropy is moving from analog to digital,” Harris said. “It is focusing on a younger generation that’s more comfortable online. That’s not our normal constituency, but our goal is to reach the whole community with the idea that everybody can be a philanthropist.”

Nearly 90 groups signed up to be beneficiaries of the event. The Community Foundation made it not only easy but extra rewarding to make online donations on Thursday and into the wee hours Friday. Every donation will be automatically multiplied via a “stretch pool” of $75,000 contributed by clinical psychologist Candace Young and Nancy Lematta, the widow of businessman and philanthropist Wes Lematta.

9 Photos
Jim West, left, and Sherri McMillan joke around during  a game of Celebrity Hopscotch at the Share Fromhold Service Center as part of the Give More 24 charity event, Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Give More 24! day of giving Photo Gallery

That pool of funds will be divvied up proportionally, according to the contributions that each beneficiary has received, Harris said. Also, there were specially timed prizes all day long — for the biggest gift during morning break, lunchtime, happy hour — and even an “insomniac prize” for the nonprofit that got the most donations between 1 and 5 a.m. Friday. And, there was to be a final $1,000 boost for the individual gift that put the entire effort over the finish line organizers are dreaming of: $500,000 in total donations in one day.

Going great,

slowdown expected

“I’d say it’s going great,” Harris said on Thursday afternoon. Things were just starting to slow down after a frantic few hours, but Harris said he was looking forward to another spike in the evening, after people got home from work and rejoined their families.

But he also expected things to slow down significantly overnight. “We still need to do a lot today because we won’t have this same amount of traffic at night. It’s important to get the gifts in now,” he said at about 3 p.m.

Even though the final totals aren’t available yet, Thursday afternoon saw an obvious spread amongst the sizes of gifts and the types of charities they went to. A main point of “Give More 24!” was activating modest donors who might only give a few dollars, Harris said, in addition to the welcoming back well-heeled philanthropists who customarily give big gifts to charities that go beyond basic needs.

As of Thursday afternoon, just three donations had dropped more than $10,000 on the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, while 96 donations totaled just over $5,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington.

It’s probably safe to conclude, Harris said, that the big symphony donations came from seasoned music lovers with deep pockets, while the many smaller gifts to the Boys & Girls Clubs came largely from its generally modest constituency of parents and families.

“That’s what we’re hoping with this day,” Harris said. “It’s this big community event, and all it takes is $10. People who never thought they could be part of it can see an easy way to get involved.”

Late on Thursday afternoon, the top gift recipient of all was SELF, Support for Early Learning and Families, which has begun an ambitious program to improve every aspect of childhood throughout Clark County. Twelve gifts totalled more than $42,000 for SELF.

Band bus, dunk tank

To help give the day a sense of energy and momentum, several charities held special events — not online but in actual reality.

Share held a celebrity carnival — the “2014 Share Games” — in its parking lot on Andresen Road (and inside its building thanks to morning drizzle). Mayor Tim Leavitt and Clark College President Bob Knight shot hoops; City Councilmen Larry Smith and Bart Hansen did some fancy footwork during Celebrity Hopscotch; frenemies of community organizer Gary Bock paid good money for tries at dunking him in a tank of water; and the evening wound up with a rockin’ lip synching battle.

Many other events helped keep things buzzing too. The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools deployed a band bus to ferry the guitar duo of Michael Lewis and Pat Kearns, members of the Portland band Blue Skies for Black Hearts, from site to site to add a little acoustic entertainment to the campaign. The duo’s first stop, at 9:30 a.m., was the office of engineering firm MacKay Sposito, where about 25 employees began their day with a three-song serenade.

It was a little early in the morning for rock ‘n’ roll, Kearns said, but not too early to support public schools and needy students.

Later on the band bus also visited sites like LSW Architects, Highgate Senior Living, Chuck’s Produce and even The Columbian.

But wait — there was more. Vancouver’s Downtown Association staffed an office on the sidewalk in a sort of living performance art piece that aimed to stoke donations for VDA’s public art projects, according to executive director Lee Rafferty.

Big Al’s Bowling provided gifts and goodies for folks who donated to Medical Teams International.

On the Web

The "Give More 24!" window closes at 7 a.m., but you can always give to charity via the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington at https://<a href=""></a>

Columbia Dance, celebrating its 25 anniversary, led tours and treated visitors to an excerpt from the ballet “Swan Lake.”

And Community Mediation Services set up shop at Latte Da Coffeehouse and Wine Bar — providing listening spaces and “our best listeners” who did what they do best: hear out people’s concerns, complaints, hopes and dreams.