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Nonprofits ecstatic with Giving Hearts Day outcomes

Several Jamestown area nonprofit organizations are reporting donations were better than ever for Giving Hearts Day on Feb. 14.

More than 30,000 people donated nearly $16.3 million to charities across North Dakota and western Minnesota on Giving Hearts Day, said Pat Traynor, executive director, Dakota Medical Foundation, a Giving Hearts Day co-host with Impact Foundation, and the Alex Stern Family Foundation.

With a $10,000 goal for its first GHD, the Jamestown Gymnastics Club raised $14,832, said Andrea Bitz, director of the gymnastics club The club had 68 donors including 13 first time donors, she said.

"We teamed up this year with Alpha Opportunities for a collaborative video to raise awareness about our two organizations and the programs we look forward to providing with the funds we raised," Bitz said. "We are also using the funds towards our ongoing need or goal of a new facility to be able to expand our programming to children and adults of all abilities."

Alpha Opportunities ended up raising $18,000 for GHD.

Dan Mimnaugh, director of Elks Camp Grassick, in Dawson, N.D., said the approximately $175,000 raised this year surpassed the $123,000 raised in the 2018 GHD. There were many first time donors and alumni donors contributed in higher amounts than in the past, making GHD funds close to 20 percent of the camp's nearly $1 million annual budget, he said.

"We are very happy and very pleased with the result," Mimnaugh said.

The money will help ensure that around 125 kids and 80 adults from all over the state, including children with disabilities, can use the camp from June through August.

The Jamestown Salvation Army raised $10,020 with GHD this year, including seven new donors, said Major Tim Nauta. The Salvation Army met its $5,000 matching funds goal, and the amount helps to make up for a shortfall in the Red Kettle Campaign during the holidays, he said.

"We're thankful for all of the generous donations we received on Giving Hearts Day," Nauta said.

The Jamestown Arts Center raised $11,620, surpassing the $8,000 donated in 2018, said Angela Martini, advertising and public relations coordinator for the Arts Center. There were 5.5 percent more first time donors in this fifth year with GHD, she said.

"With a small budget like ours, these funds have an incredible impact," Martini said.

Jeff Trumbauer, principal of St. John's Academy, said GHD was a tremendous success with $25,790 raised. The donations go directly to the SJA annual budget and, ultimately, impact every student at the school by helping to keep tuition rates low, he said.

This year, SJA had 150 donors, 30 of which were first time givers to St. John's Academy, and seven $1,000 matching donors, he said. This helped SJA receive the "Plan for the Best" $500 prize from the Dakota Medical Foundation, he said.

"It is encouraging to see the support for the education we are offering at St. John's Academy," Trumbauer said.

The University of Jamestown raised over $29,000 to support student scholarships, said Jim Klemann, director of annual giving in the UJ Office of Institutional Advancement.

"Over 130 individuals and businesses gave with all their heart to the University of Jamestown on Giving Hearts Day in support of student scholarships, Klemann said. "It was an amazing day, and we could not be more grateful for the generosity and kindness of our alumni and friends"

Troy Gunderson, executive director of James Valley Youth For Christ, said the organization raised $22,700.

"We reached our goal plus some," Gunderson said. "We increased over last year, which was really exciting to see."

The funds will help with operations in Jamestown and Valley City, he said. There are also plans to organize a concert and a mission to the Dominican Republic, he said.

Anne Carlsen Center raised $465,000, earning the top spot among organizations with an annual operating budget of $500,000 or greater.

Jamestown Regional Medical Center Foundation raised $213,000, earning a spot among the highest donations for organizations with an annual operating budget less than $500,000.