May 9, 2017

More than $8 million raised for 'Give Local St. Joseph County' fundraiser

Category: Station News

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - On Tuesday, May 9, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County hosted 'Give Local,' a 24-hour fundraising marathon benefiting local non-profit organizations.

“We had high expectations, but we never expected to shatter the record of 2015,” said Rose Meissner, who serves as president of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County.

That year, $6.7 million was raised.

“That event exceeded our wildest dreams and now this one went even farther,” said Meissner.

This year, a $2.4 million matching pool helped your donations reach even further.

Just before midnight Wednesday, the total reached a little more than $8 million, including the $2.4 million match.

Tuesday, NewsCenter 16 hosted a day-long phone bank. Crews also reported live at the Morris Performing Arts Center as volunteers began taking cash and check donations at 7 a.m.

South Bend's Mayor Pete Buttigieg was among the first to make a donation at that location. He chose to give back to the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. He says the fundraiser is a day-long celebration of the generosity in the community.

“Every community has a personality, a style or you could even say a character, a soul, and I think South Bend's character has a lot to do with giving, has a lot to do with generosity, it always has,” Buttigieg explained.

This year, 67 charities took part.

Among those are Hope Ministries, the Casie Center, South Bend Civic Theatre and the St. Joseph County Public Library.

For a full list of participating agencies, visit givelocalsjc.org.

“Whether you're celebrating some of the most vulnerable in our community through some of the charities that look after children or women in need, or whether you're elevating the quality of life here through things like the symphony orchestra or other arts programming. There are so many things that we get right in this community that are only possible because people chose to give,” said Buttigieg.

“And it's such a beautiful spectrum; it's the arts, parks, education, human services so everyone is touched by these organizations in multiple ways,” said Meissner.

The goal is to help sustain those foundations now and in the future.

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to give and support locally. And I think many of want to do that. I think we support other large groups but to support locally is just wonderful,” said Carolyn Higgins, donor.

Sharing the gift of support to fellow members and organizations of the community.

“What make an enormous event like this work is that so many people grab an ore and help. Many hands make light work and this is a perfect example of that,” said Meissner.

The City of South Bend began to celebrate Give Local at the stroke of midnight. The river lights changed colors to red and blue in honor of the event. They will show off those colors once again Tuesday night after sunset.

The Morris Performing Arts Center also got into the spirit of things by dying the water in the fountain out front red.

“Most donors love more than one of the charities that are participating. So the most common thing is that donors will make a gift and allocate it to multiple charities,” said Meissner.

Then, your donation of at least $25 to the charity of your choosing will be matched.

“The only complaint we hear is that the donors find it hard... there's so many great organizations, and they find it hard to pick,” said Meissner.

NewsCenter 16 was proud to partner with Give Local St. Joseph County and help the many organizations involved.