STATE COLLEGE — Cathi Alloway was glued to her computer.
Alloway, the Schlow Centre Region Library director, spent Thursday swept up in the first 36-hour Centre Gives fundraiser for local nonprofit organizations. When she wasn’t monitoring the online leaderboard for the latest donation figures, she was emailing and working the phone to drum up support for the library.
With an hour to go, she even got on the library intercom and announced that Schlow was neck and neck with the American Philatelic Society for the most gifts.
“And a guy came to the front desk and said, ‘Here’s my (credit) card, I’m giving $100,’ ” Alloway said.
After the event ended at 6 p.m., she and her staff celebrated. The Friends of Schlow Centre Region Library finished with 212 unique donors, tops among the 74 organizations, giving it the grand prize of $2,500 from the event’s sponsor, Centre Foundation. The library’s donors raised $13,565.
“We are really crazy happy over here,” Alloway said.
In second place was the American Philatelic Society with 186 donors, good for a $1,500 prize. Its gifts amounted to an event-best $44,565.
The State Theatre and Centre Volunteers in Medicine tied for third with 165 donors each, but it wasn’t clear Thursday how that $1,000 prize would be awarded.
In the end, Centre Gives drew 2,847 gifts totaling $415,116. Centre Foundation, formerly called the Centre County Community Foundation, will give $100,000 in matching funds, which will be distributed according to amounts raised by organizations.
Organizations will receive the funds they raised, minus a small fee charged for credit card donations.
“I think overall it was a magnificent indication of the kind of people who live here, and how they wish to support the organizations that give us the good quality of life we have,” said Bob Potter, a former foundation president and the current president of the Friends of Schlow board.
Like many in the local nonprofit world, Potter beat the bushes Thursday for gifts, keeping a close eye on the race, especially in the final hours. He called the event “addictive.”
“There was a lot of interest and a flurry of emails floating around,” he said. “A lot of good people came forward to support this organization.”
Alloway confessed she was worried beforehand. The library’s annual fund drive had been scheduled for May and June long ago, and she thought patrons would be reluctant to give twice. But many proved her wrong.
“Our users really stepped up to the plate today,” she said.
And after losing more than $600,000 in state funding since 2007, she couldn’t be happier with the response.
“I’m just so humbled by people’s support,” she said. “This money is so critical to us. It’s such a good feeling.”
Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter @CRosenblumNews