96 local agencies lobby for donations during Centre Gives

The Centre gives website supports the 36-hour online giving event sponsored by the foundation.
The Centre gives website supports the 36-hour online giving event sponsored by the foundation.

Centre Foundation this year added an extra $5,000 to its total matching funds for agencies participating in Centre Gives.

Centre Gives is a 36-hour online giving event sponsored by the foundation. It started midnight Monday and ends at noon Wednesday.

Centre Foundation is a local nonprofit founded in 1981 that financially helps other local philanthropic agencies.

The event’s mission is to allow foundation partner agencies to help bring donations through online media.

“It’s providing support and allowing them to leverage their own skills to reach out to their donors,” said Molly Kunkel, Centre Foundation executive director.

On Tuesday, 96 agencies participated in the initiative. Management at those local nonprofits said they were thankful the foundation holds the yearly event.

Community Help Centre, 410 S. Fraser St. in State College, has participated in Centre Gives since it began three years ago.

The help center is a 24/7-run organization that’s been in operation since the early 1970s, providing services, resources, education, training and information to those in need of support. Last year, it served 12,000 individuals and families, according to a report from the center.

“We have people who have supported it in the past, and the reason Centre Gives is so important to human service agencies is that their dollar goes twice as far,” said Bonnie Tatterson, Community Help Centre director.

Centre Foundation has a total match amount of $105,000 this year — up $5,000 from last year. The matching distributions will be a prorated amount to participating agencies depending on how much is raised, Kunkel said.

Tuesday, the foundation was able to add that $5,000 to the matching fund amount from a chunk of change it received from the Favorite Community Contest through the Give Local America program, Kunkel said.

Community Help Centre is run by 50 volunteers and five regular staff members who spent all day Tuesday getting in touch with their donation network. Tatterson said they used the center’s Facebook page to reach out to all others.

“That’s the big part for us,” Tatterson said. “For us oldsters, it’s a new way of doing things, but it’s exciting, because we’re seeing a new way of networking that can be beneficial for us.”

The goal is to raise $5,000 or $6,000 this year. Last year, it raised about $3,000 during Centre Gives.

The State Theatre got a head start on the donation drive Monday night and was hoping to exceed $28,000 in donations.

The theater held a banquet for about 70 donors who helped target potential contributors into giving again this year through Centre Gives, said Chris Rand, development director.

By midnight Monday, its staff, board members and volunteers began cranking out phone calls and taking to social media to help bring in donations to the theater as part of the event.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that the theater is a nonprofit organization,” Rand said. “We’re here because of our donors.”

With networking efforts, the theater also was able to receive an additional $1,000 in matching funds through Centre Foundation for being the first organization to receive 25 unique donors.

Last year, the Centre Gives initiative raised more than $550,000.

“We help them set up Facebook pages and get inspired through social media,” Kunkel said. “Online media is such a good resource to reach out to people.”

By 10:57 a.m. Tuesday, $157,382 was raised and about two hours later, exceeded the $200,000 mark. At 11:25 p.m., $400,591 had been raised.

“That just shows the kind of community support we get,” Kunkel said. “We are really excited to be doing this and proud of the community support.”