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A day to double donations

Valentine's Day is coming up and area organizations are asking people to have a heart.

Lakes Crisis and Resource Center and Angels of Courage Retreats have been chosen to participate in Dakota Medical Foundation's Giving Hearts Day on Feb. 12. For one day only, the foundation will match any donation of $10 or more given online up to $5,000.

The organizations were required to fill out applications and were then selected as participants. There are about 100 organizations throughout Minnesota and North Dakota participating. Each has been associated with the Dakota Medical Foundation in the past.

"When we formed a couple years ago, we received assistance from Dakota Medical Foundation. They were instrumental in realizing the mission and vision and becoming a non-profit organization," Kathleen Siewert, administrative manager with Angels of Courage Retreats, said.

"We got involved because we used them for other funds and grants," Sarah Frieden community coordinator for Lakes Crisis and Resource Center said.

While Dakota Medical Foundation grants are usually geared toward organizations with medical needs, Frieden explained that LCRC is able to use their support because of physical abuse and mental health issues with support groups.

Organizations associated with Dakota Medical Foundation can qualify for grants throughout the year, including the Giving Hearts Day matching grant. Both Angels of Courage and LCRC participated last year in the Giving Hearts Day.

Once selected to participate, donations can be made to the selected organizations through from midnight on Feb. 14 until 11:59 that night.

"It's a 23 hour, 59 minute long fund-raiser," Siewert said with a laugh.

Organizations have to raise a minimum of $1,000 before the matching funds kick in. Last year, Angels of Courage raised just over $3,500.

"I would like to double that at a minimum," Siewert said, "but triple or quadruple would be great.

"The good we could do would be amazing."

In Angels of Courage's application for the Giving Heart Day, organizers said the money would be used for the purpose of the organization, which is to host retreats that help rest the body, rejuvenate the mind and restore the soul for people with illnesses, such as cancer.

"When you go to the doctor, you're told what's wrong with you, not what's right with you," she explained. Angels of Courage was established to help build the positive and "that's where these funds come in. It helps to build a community, not just a city or town border, but everybody together."

Frieden said the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center would use the generated funds for "maintaining and growing the programs we have, like domestic and sexual abuse as well as for families in need."

Last year the minimum for matching donations was $25 but that has been lowered to $10 this year. Dakota Medical Foundation gave out $325,000 last year through Giving Hearts Day.

Also beneficial for organizations in the incentive program behind Giving Hearts Day. Nonprofits that raise the most get extra funds. First place will receive an extra $20,000 on top of the matching $5,000. It goes up to fifth place for an extra $5,000.

Feb. 12 is your chance to double your donation to these organizations.

"As little as $10, it can really make a difference in people's lives," Siewert said.