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Centre Gives tops $1 million

Irene Miller is the development and events coordinator for Centre Foundation. The organization’s annual Centre Gives campaign raised more than $1 million.
Irene Miller is the development and events coordinator for Centre Foundation. The organization’s annual Centre Gives campaign raised more than $1 million. Centre Daily Times, file

A technical hurdle didn’t stop Centre Gives from getting things done. Instead, it exceeded expectations.

The Centre Foundation’s fifth annual charitable giving challenge seemed like it hit a wall on Tuesday afternoon when Texas software company Kimbia’s platform stalled similar events all over the country. In Pittsburgh, Seattle, Sacramento and other cities, giving events came to a halt as the computer systems stopped processing the gifts.

What was a nonprofit to do?

Well, in Centre County, 124 service organizations, charities and groups of all kinds got the word out to their people on social media and through word of mouth. The Centre Foundation started processing payments on the telephone.

On Wednesday, the www.centregives.org website got up and going again and the foundation extended what was supposed to be a 36-hour event ending at 6 p.m. by four hours, giving groups until 10 p.m. to see their dollars roll in and compete with each other for a portion of a $100,000 stretch pool of cash, plus an additional package of prize money for the friendly competition.

With all that, it might seem like the event couldn’t possibly hit its goal.

Development coordinator Irene Miller said that was not the case.

At 8:30 p.m., with an hour and a half yet to go, Miller said the event was on track to shatter last year’s numbers.

The total impact of the 2015 event was $892,000, with gifts, stretch pool, prizes and more added together.

The final total in 2016 was $1,065,040, money that came from more than 6,000 gifts adding up to $939,000 in 40 hours. The total investment included the stretch pool and $26,000 in prizes.

“The million dollar investment will make such a difference in our community,” said Centre Foundation Executive Director Molly Kunkel. “It is incredibly moving to see what we can accomplish when our community works together.”

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