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Nonprofits reach out for help through online fundraiser

The seventh annual Giving Hearts Day is set for this Thursday, Feb. 13. Four local nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Detroit Lakes & Perham, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Foundation, Hospice of the Red River Valley and Lakes Crisis & Resource Center. All online donations of $10 during that 24-hour period will be matched. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Each year since 2008, the Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation have joined forces to create a unique “virtual” fundraising event known as Giving Hearts Day (GHD).

This 24-hour, online give-a-thon has dramatically increased the fundraising success of charities of North Dakota and western Minnesota — and this Thursday, Feb. 13, four local nonprofits are joining in the fun.

Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Foundation, Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, Hospice of the Red River Valley and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Detroit Lakes and Perham have all been chosen to participate and are excited about sharing their missions with local supporters during this special fundraising campaign.

“This is our second year of participating,” said Julie Poore, coordinator of the GHD fundraiser for Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Foundation.

“Last year we were able to raise over $12,000 on Giving Hearts Day for moving the MRI machine indoors (from the mobile trailer where it had previously been housed) as part of our imaging construction project,” Poore said. “That included a $4,000 match received from Dakota Medical Foundation.”

On Feb. 13, any and all donations of $10 or greater, up to a total of $4,000, that are made to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s will once again be matched by the Dakota Medical Foundation, with an additional match provided by the Otto Bremer Foundation.

“We are definitely planning to earn the matching grants, and are telling staff that their donation on Giving Hearts Day will be tripled,” Poore said.

“This year, we are raising money for a replacement ambulance for St. Mary’s EMS,” she added.

“They have four ambulances up and running at any given time, and the oldest vehicle currently has over 230,000 miles on it. Usually, a new vehicle is active — being the first or second to respond to a call — for about six years, and then it becomes a backup vehicle for about two years, and then it gets replaced.”

An ambulance is essentially a “mobile emergency department,” Poore said, and as such, the technology found inside of the newer models is constantly being updated and improved.

The replacement vehicle, when purchased, will have brighter LED lighting and lower access steps, “so it’s safer for our crews to get in and out of it, and for loading the cot (with patient in it) into the vehicle,” she said.

In 2013, St. Mary’s EMS responded to about 3,000 calls within its service area. What many people don’t know, Poore added, is that an ambulance crew will respond to an emergency call even when the area is deemed inaccessible to an emergency medical helicopter or airplane.

“Even if we’re (the public) told not to travel, they still respond,” Poore said. “We are so proud to have these staff members that are so dedicated and willing to be out there helping people, no matter the conditions.”

On the day of the fundraiser, EHSM will have computers available in its clinic lobby all day, and in the cafeteria during lunch, for staff and visitors who are interested in making a donation online.

“We have other on-campus activities to raise awareness and provide fun ways for staff to participate,” Poore added.

Meanwhile, online donations to the local Boys & Girls Clubs on Feb. 13 will be matched by Bremer Bank in both Detroit Lakes and Perham.

“We are grateful to Bremer Banks in Detroit Lakes and Perham for generously providing up to $4,000 in matching funds to help us reach our goal of $8,000,” said Sue Trnka, resource development director for the local Boys & Girls Club.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Detroit Lakes and Perham are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in Giving Hearts Day again this year — and to partner with other local nonprofits to strengthen the services that support our community,” Trnka added.

The two clubs are raising funds for the purchase of defibrillators and other health-related supplies for both sites.

At Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, an anonymous donor has agreed to match the first $4,000 in donations made that day. The funds will be used to support families in crisis.

“We are so grateful to be participating in Giving Hearts Day again this year,” said Anna Sellin, development director for LCRC.

“The donations we receive have a direct impact on our clients by supporting our programming. Our donors are already generous, so to be able to have their contributions doubled is simply amazing. It’s a fun and exciting day for all of our staff to see and feel the support!”

LCRC’s goal for the one-day online fundraiser is $18,000.

“The money raised directly supports our current programs, including crime victim advocacy, children’s services and our shelter, Mary’s Place,” Sellin said. “In addition, we are launching the Kinship Program again and in need of funds to sustain and grow it.

“Kinship is a mentoring program for children that improves lives by helping establish quality relationships between youth that are between the ages of 5-16 and caring adult volunteers for the purpose of promoting stability, support, friendship, and community. This program is for the community of Detroit Lakes and surrounding areas.”

Hospice of the Red River Valley, which has offices at 1102 W. River Road in Detroit Lakes, is raising funds through GHD to support end-of-life care. A matching grant will be provided by Team Industries.

“Hospice of the Red River Valley is so excited about joining forces with three other local non-profits in our fundraising efforts for Giving Hearts Day,” said Jane Bartholomay, HRRV development officer. “With the support from TEAM Industries all gifts made to HRRV on Giving Hearts Day will be multiplied.

“At Hospice of the Red River Valley we care for patients facing end of life and help them live with peace, dignity and comfort for whatever time remains, while providing grief support to countless loved ones,” Bartholomay added. “Donations to Hospice of the Red River Valley are used for operational costs and support for our bereavement program. Our bereavement specialists provide both individual and group support.

“In Detroit Lakes a support group for adults 18 years and older who have experienced a loss though death is held the second Thursday of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. We also have a support group for men and women who have experienced the loss of a partner that meets the fourth Tuesday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m.”

For more information on HRRV’s Detroit Lakes support groups please call 218-847-9493.

How to contribute

Donations to any of the four participating local organizations may be made online at the Impact Foundation website,, between the hours of 12 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, and 12 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14.

Each donation is tax-deductible, and enables an e-card to be sent to a friend or family member, letting them know a donation has been made in their honor.

There are also additional fundraising incentives provided to those organizations raising the most money. For instance, grants of $500 are awarded for the most creative marketing strategy, donations from the most people, best use of social media, and donations from the most states to a single organization.

Giving Hearts Day: A brief history

Each year, Giving Hearts Day has grown larger and more successful. The event raised $325,000 for local charities in 2008, its first year.

Donations topped the million-dollar mark in 2011, and in 2013, GHD raised $3.68 million in just 24 hours, via 16,989 individual donations to 179 different charities. A total of 227 organizations are participating in the seventh annual event on Feb. 13.

Over its six-year history, GHD has garnered more than $10 million in charitable donations. For more information, please visit the website, or call 701-271-0263.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454