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Nonprofit organizations gear up for 'Giving Hearts Day'

Dozens of charities in this region prepare for 24-hour day of generosity some call "the Super Bowl of giving"

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Lauralee Tupa, left, executive director of the Circle of Friends Animal Shelter, and Dr. Taylor Biermaier are photographed in the new surgical room at the center on North Highway 81.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Dozens of nonprofit organizations in the community and region are working to connect with donors to encourage gifts of funds, time, talent and new and used goods in support of their missions on Giving Hearts Day, Thursday, Feb. 10.

Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour fundraising event for charities throughout North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Some have called it “the Super Bowl of giving,” according to the Dakota Medical Foundation, which hosts the event along with the Impact Foundation and the Alex Stern Foundation.

The foundation, based in Fargo, provides administrative support for Giving Hearts Day and fundraising training. It also offers matching funds to a limited number of health-related nonprofits within its service area.

Since the first Giving Hearts Day in 2008, donors have given more than $112 million to charities of their choice. All of the donated funds go directly to participating organizations.

Leaders of the DMF and nonprofit groups are hopeful Giving Hearts Day will strengthen ties with current donors and build relationships with prospective donors that result in increased involvement, such as volunteering or attendance at charity events.

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Each nonprofit organization has qualified to participate in the event by raising at least $3,000 for Giving Hearts Day.

This year, nearly 550 charities will participate in Giving Hearts Day. Some have come up with creative ways to help them stand out and attract attention to their particular mission.

Here’s a sampling of a few of the organizations in the immediate Grand Forks region that are actively promoting their involvement in the event:

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(From left) Dr. Taylor Biermaier and Jackie Rose, vet assistant manager, monitor a cat during a neutering procedure at the Circle of Friends Animal Shelter. Arielle Thompson, background is the center's manager of adoptions.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The Circle of Friends Animal Shelter is giving tours of its new medical center beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, with the last tour beginning at 6:30 p.m., at 4375 N. Washington St.

Those who make a donation that day will receive a “Thank You for Being Our Friend” gift, in honor of the late actress Betty White and her lifelong love of animals, said Lauralee Tupa, the shelter’s CEO.

Some adoption discounts may apply that day.

Donations received Thursday will be used for a camera system to be installed in a new surgery room at the remodeled north-end facility. Surgical procedures, which had to be outsourced to veterinarians’ clinics in the past, will soon be offered in-house, said Tupa. Staff members will be able to complete lab work on-site, allowing them to move animals through pre-surgery preparation, surgery and recovery stages more quickly.

The camera system will allow veterinary, pre-med and medical students, students interested in pursuing veterinary and human medicine and others to observe surgeries and receive training.

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United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area is hosting an event Thursday at the South Town PourHouse, 2015 Library Circle, near the former Kmart store. Doors open at 4 p.m. Happy hour specials will be offered from 4 to 6 p.m. and a ribeye dinner is planned for 6 to 9 p.m., with music by “Rhyme or Reason” from 7 to 10 p.m. All proceeds from the $5 cover charge will go to United Way for Giving Hearts Day, said Heather Novak, executive director.

United Way has set a goal of $100,000 for Giving Hearts Day for its Families First program, which provides temporary housing assistance for homeless families and rent and utilities assistance for near-homeless families, Novak said.

The Women’s Pregnancy Center in Grand Forks, is partnering with O’ For Heavens Cakes for Giving Hearts Day, said Jill Chandler, director. For each $10 donation, the donor receives a free red velvet cupcake, up to 12. Donors, including those who pre-scheduled their donation, may pick up the cupcakes anytime between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the bakery, located across the hallway from the Women’s Pregnancy Center in the Grand Cities Mall.

The center is a faith-based nonprofit and provides free, confidential services to women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy. Its service area includes Grand Forks and Polk counties.

Grand Forks Public Schools, through the Grand Forks Foundation for Education, is raising funds for “The Giving Tree,” an internal pantry for school social workers and employees to access at for critically needed items.

“The Giving Tree is a godsend for our Grand Forks Public Schools social workers,” said Alisa Bowman, school social worker. “We are able to help families in need quickly, with no paperwork or time needed. Often, we aren’t aware of the hardships some of the families we work with face until the need is dire.”

Gifts of $10 or more will be matched thanks to the generous funding of the Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux Foundation and Grand Forks Scheels.

Valley Senior Living is dedicating donations from Giving Hearts Day to intergenerational programming for residents at its facilities. Donors who prefer to give in person, rather than online, may bring checks – dated Feb. 10, 2022, made out to Valley Senior Living Foundation with “Giving Hearts Day” in the memo line – by Thursday to Valley Senior Living, 2900 14th Ave. S., Grand Forks.

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Matching gifts will be provided by Vaaler Insurance and Jean Peterson.  

The Grand Forks Senior Center, which has set a goal of $40,000, is highlighting the need for contributions to its senior meal program. The center has seen increased demand in the past two years for its meal drive-thru, meals provided inside the building, and the delivery of Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals.

Donors who prefer to give in person, rather than online, may bring their check to the center by Thursday, and indicate “Giving Hearts Day” in the memo line.

The Red River Valley Habitat for Humanity organization, which serves Grand Forks and Polk counties, helps low-income families attain decent, affordable, stable housing. This is possible by using volunteer labor and donated materials when available to build houses.

Donors may contribute by going online to: https://app.givingheartsday.org/#/charity/1386 .

Salvation Army will match up to $40,000 on each Giving Hearts Day donation

The Salvation Army has announced all donations made to service centers in North Dakota by Thursday, Feb. 10 will be matched up to $40,000 for Giving Hearts Day.

Each Giving Hearts Day gift provides food, shelter, support and other services for those in need.

“These last two years have been enormously challenging for The Salvation Army and the people we serve,” Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division, said. “The pandemic is still creating hardship for many thousands of families, now worsened by rising inflation and food shortages. As a result, we still see unprecedented numbers of requests for food and housing assistance.”

Giving Hearts Day is Thursday, Feb. 10.

Many nonprofit organizations – which are committed to important work in the fields of health care, education, the well-being of seniors and refugees, disability services, mental health, the arts, homelessness, veteran support, food insecurity and others – in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota are participating in Giving Hearts Day.

To get involved and support one or more charitable organizations, go to: www.givingheartsday.org , click on the “Donate” button and select the nonprofit of your choice.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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