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Giving Hearts Day set for Feb. 10

Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour period of giving that will take place on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Giving Hearts Day Troy Gunderson guitar 020322.jpg
Troy Gunderson, executive director of James Valley Youth for Christ, a participating organization in Giving Hearts Day plays the guitar for children at the Youth for Christ in Jamestown. Giving Hearts Day is Saturday, Feb. 10, and is a 24-hour period when people can donate to participating organizations in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
Ben Ray / The Jamestown Sun

Giving Hearts Day has an immense impact on local charities in the Jamestown area and across the state with 336 organizations participating in 2021 and over $22 million raised in donations that year as well.

Giving Hearts Day was started in 2008 by the Dakota Medical Foundation and is “one of the longest running days of giving in the country,” said Jessica Offerman, executive manager of the Impact Foundation, which is one of the foundations that oversees Giving Hearts Day.

Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour period of giving that will take place on Thursday, Feb. 10. People can pledge to donate ahead of Giving Hearts Day, pledge volunteer hours and make a real-time donation on Feb. 10.

We target our Giving Hearts Day to our afterschool program because we like keeping that (cost) really low for kids to participate.
Mindi Schmitz, executive director, The Arts Center in Jamestown

Giving Hearts Day started off by only highlighting health-related charities, but now any charity in Northern Minnesota or North Dakota can participate as long as the charities and organizations are 501(c)(3), Offerman said. Giving Hearts Day has developed over time and has tried to get donors and charities out of their comfort zone, whether it was donors giving online for the first time or charities getting more comfortable with different types of training for fundraising, Offerman said.

Last year was the first year of the Giving Hearts Day Sweepstakes to get more people involved in donating and giving back to the donors who have helped the charities over the years. Individuals can be entered to win by scheduling a donation, making a real-time donation, pledging to donate goods and pledging volunteer hours to any participating charities.

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This year the grand prize is a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss, and smaller prizes include workout equipment, a spa gift card and other prizes.

Giving Hearts Day is also holding a TikTok challenge called #25kforghd to increase its presence on social media and to give a prize to a lucky winner, Offerman said. To enter, participants must do a specific Giving Hearts Day dance, use the #25kforghd in their video and name the charity they would like to give $25,000 to.

All current Jamestown charities involved in this event developed a partnership to advertise together, Offerman said, creating a sense of community that she said she admires.

Troy Gunderson, executive director of James Valley Youth for Christ, which is a participating organization, said Giving Hearts Day gives him an opportunity to get boots on the ground. Youth for Christ is an outreach ministry and it is essential to have branches out in the community, and the best way to do that is through staff members, Gunderson said.

“We have been real blessed, the people of Jamestown have been really gracious, and we could not do it without their support,” he said.

Having a smiling face when a kid enters the door is something that Gunderson enjoys.

The focus at Youth For Christ is on the kids. Mary Joy, the volunteer coordinator, said her favorite thing is getting to know the kids and their stories.

The Jamestown Arts Center uses resources from Giving Hearts Day for the Arts After School program, said Mindi Schmitz, executive director.

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“We target our Giving Hearts Day to our afterschool program because we like keeping that (cost) really low for kids to participate,” Schmitz said. “We give out scholarships … and provide transportation, the substantial afterschool snack, and we have quality art educators come in and do it.”

Schmitz said that The Arts Center conducted a study 25 years ago and found that kids need programs after school and kids need art. This is a need that The Arts Center fills, she said.

Schmitz believes that the community understands how important The Arts Center is and Giving Hearts Day is a way for everyone to get involved.

“I think the community feels good about Giving Hearts Day because they're giving it to the kids,” she said.

The Anne Carlsen Center has been a part of the Jamestown community for 80 years, according to CEO Tim Eissinger. The Anne Carlsen Center offers a wide array of services to ensure it can meet the needs of everyone it serves, he said. He said Giving Hearts Day has helped increase people's awareness of how much the Anne Carlsen Center helps families in need.

The Anne Carlsen Center is expanding, and Eissinger is envisioning the Anne Carlsen Wall of Fame.

“(The Anne Carlsen Center) would like to have an area in the new building that could showcase the many North Dakotans, who like Dr. Anne, overcame significant challenges and barriers to become major advocates, and proved that they were more than capable of living their best life and giving back to the world,” Eissinger said.

Eissinger said that Giving Hearts Day gives individuals in the state an opportunity to give to others who are not as fortunate and build on that sense of community.

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For more information about charities or Giving Hearts Day and to find ways to donate, visit givingheartsday.org .

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