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'Giving Hearts Day' helps local nonprofits

Come on, have a heart!

For the sixth year, Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation is helping charities in western Minnesota and North Dakota raise money through Giving Hearts Day.

Taking place on Valentine's Day each year, the organization offers up to $4,000 in matching funds to organizations raising their own online funds that 24-hour period only.

In 2012, more than 10,800 individuals gave $1.6 million to 140 charities on Feb. 14. That number has grown extensively since the inception in 2008, when $325,000 was raised.

This year, there are three Detroit Lakes organizations taking part. Lakes Crisis and Resource Center has been participating since 2008, this is the second year for the Boys and Girls Club, and Essentia Health St. Mary's is new this year.

Boys and Girls Club

This year the Boys and Girls Club is going all out to earn donations Feb. 14.

"I thought Pat would shoot it down, but he didn't," said Sue Trnka, resource development director.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Feb. 14, Executive Director Pat Petermann will be sitting on the roof of Price's Jewelry -- with Dave Lee from KRCQ broadcasting live -- and won't be coming down until $4,000 is raised.

To qualify for the Giving Hearts Day through Dakota Foundation, the non-profit must be health related. Trnka said the Boys and Girls Club qualifies because of the health-related programs they offer kids. But, because there are so many other health-related charities out there, while the club can promote the Giving Hearts Day and receive donations online through Impact, the club won't actually receive a matching grant from the foundation.

Instead, the club has had to go out and find their own matching grant. Bremer Bank and Nereson's are putting up the $4,000 matching funds instead of the Dakota Medical Foundation.

While Petermann will be sitting on the roof in the cold, Trnka will be inside Price's Jewelry with a kiosk ready for anyone wishing to donate in person. Anyone can make a donation online from anywhere.

While at Price's to donate though -- only online donations that day count toward the matching grant -- people can register for a pendant Roger Price is designing and donating for the cause.

"It's a cool Valentine's gift to give someone, or for a keepsie," Trnka said.

Price's Jewelry will also donate a portion of their sales for the day to the Boys and Girls Club after the match is met, she added.

Last year 39 donors raised $4,482 for the Boys and Girls Club. The proceeds from this year's Giving Hearts Day will be split between the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes and Perham.

Essentia Health St. Mary's

Though it's their first year participating, Essentia Health St. Mary's has big plans for their funds.

After having a mobile MRI scan at the hospital for eight years, St. Mary's plans to break ground this spring on an addition to the former lobby of the hospital that will serve as the imaging department -- with a permanent, indoor home for the MRI scan -- and some remodeling to the emergency department as well.

MRI Technologist Melissa Coyne said there are numerous reasons for the "Move the Machine" campaign at the hospital. Having the MRI machine indoors is an obvious benefit to patients -- not having to bundle up in blankets to stay warm while walking outside to the mobile machine, they won't have to walk through the ER to get to the machine, and they will have their privacy back -- but it also benefits staff.

"We can see more patients since there's not the long walk," she said.

The efficiency of having the unit in the building will increase productivity, she added.

Plus, technicians will have the ability to do more features with the indoor scan, allowing people to stay in Detroit Lakes and not have to drive to Fargo for a scan.

"Maintenance issues, those will all go away," she added. "It will only improve it being inside." There will also be bathrooms nearby and expanded changing rooms.

"It's about customer quality and convenience," Development Assistant Monique Anderson said.

So besides highlighting the quest to move the MRI machine indoors in the year-end appeal letter, a Giving Hearts Day committee was formed -- Anderson, Coyne, Melody Jahnke, volunteer coordinator, and Julie Poore, administrative assistant -- to encourage more assistance with the MRI project.

Not only will they be asking the public for donations, but they are also asking employees to give that day as well. To prep for it, the hospital will be offering fun things like sweet rolls with pink frosting and Special K bars for sale. There are other incentives for the 800 St. Mary's employees to give that day online.

"We try to make it fun and festive atmosphere," said LeAnn Mouw, director of development.

Lakes Crisis and

Resource Center

Participating since the inception, Lakes Crisis and Resource Center has seen a great benefit to Valentine's Day the last five years.

Last year, the non-profit raised nearly $17,000.

"We would like to continue that momentum this year," said Natalie Bly, organizational project coordinator.

So this year's goal is $20,000.

"We have increased our goal this year so that we can continue to develop the services that are needed to support the children in our community," she said.

The focus of the monies raised through Giving Heart Day supports the children's service the crisis center provides such as daycare and preschool needs and support groups for bullying, suicide and dating violence.

Though the crisis center has no big event planned for this year's Giving Hearts Day, they still anticipate as much support as ever.

"The typical thing we do is send out a postcards to our donor database," she said of looking for support on Feb. 14.

"We welcome other matches though," she added.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.