This year's Giving Hearts Day saw record giving, and many area nonprofits saw year over year growth.
According to preliminary figures from the Impact Foundation, participating charities raised more than $16.2 million from about 68,000 donations. The preliminary total for the Grand Forks-area is $765,673, according to the Impact Foundation.
"This honestly makes a big difference; I am just stunned," said Lauralee Tupa, executive director of Circle of Friends Humane Society, which participated in Giving Hearts Day for its fourth year in a row. "Giving Hearts Day brings a lot of awareness to Grand Forks' nonprofits, and it is a great collaboration of area nonprofits all trying to promote each other."
Circle of Friends met its fundraising goal of $45,000 on GHD, which was more than the nonprofit raised last year. The funds will go toward the foster program, kitten and puppy supplies, vaccines and the costs associated with spaying and neutering animals.
Global Friends Coalition in Grand Forks raised money for field trips, English classes, driving classes and a variety of other experiences for new Americans.
Global Friends raised almost $9,000. With the $10,000 match, that adds up to $18,656 for the group, said Cynthia Shabb, executive director of the organization.
"We are grateful for the support and are very excited to continue our programming in 2019," Shabb said.
UND also participated in the day of giving to help a few of students. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in partnership with Dakota Medical Foundation, raised money on GHD for scholarships. Three randomly chosen students each were awarded $12,500 scholarships.
"We never want money to be a barrier that keeps anyone from entering the health field and serving the people of our state," said Dakota Medical Foundation President Pat Traynor.
Shenae LaCroix, a second-year physical therapy student, received the Dr. Susan Zelewski Giving Hearts Day Scholarship; Brooke Lentz, a third-year medical student, was awarded the Dr. David Schmitz Giving Hearts Scholarship; and Andrea Lerick, a junior majoring in medical laboratory science received the Dr. Steffen Christensen Giving Hearts Scholarship.
Emilia Hodgson was a Grand Forks-based "field correspondent" for Giving Hearts Day, which means she led the collaboration of participating Grand Forks nonprofits. Hodgson also is the director of the Grand Forks Foundation for Education and Alumni Network.
That organization raised just under $68,000, which exceeded its goal of $50,000 and was more than the group raised in years past.
"I am so appreciative," Hodgson said. "And I know my other nonprofit colleagues are, too."
The Grand Forks Foundation for Education and Alumni Network raised money to buy a vehicle to transport students in need. The organization also plans to use additional funding to put toward buying school bus tickets for families struggling financially.
"We really felt the love," Hodgson said. "People will see the shuttle driving around next school year and know that their $10 or $15 donation made that happen. We wouldn't have been able to do that without them."
According to unaudited figures, 30,615 individuals donated locally, 2,558 more than last year.
Giving Hearts Day charities have now raised approximately $71 million since the event start in 2008.
More than 4,000 Giving Hearts Day gift cards totaling $120,445 were sold and used to donate to charities on Valentine's Day, and more than 100 employers joined the Giving Hearts Day Business program, which provides matching dollars and gift card funds to employees.
"We're feeling really good about how we did on the big day," Hodgson said.