36 hours of giving set to get underway in Centre County

For the fifth year, the Centre Foundation is turning raising money for a good cause into a good-natured team sport with a healthy prize package.

“We are definitely very excited about Centre Gives,” said foundation Development and Events Coordinator Irene Miller.

But what exactly is Centre Gives?

It’s a 36-hour challenge to see just how much money one of the participating charities can collect from start to finish. But a dollar given through between 6 a.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Wednesday doesn’t just mean the charity in question gets $1. That money gets augmented by a $100,000 pool of cash to stretch the donations into a more powerful punch.

And then there’s the prize money.

A $25,000 pool is split in half, putting two pots of $12,500 on the table. Charities compete to win the extra money. The two pools are about making it fair. Large organizations compete against others of a certain size while smaller charities do the same.

But who is on that list?

Well, let’s be fair. We can’t really list them all here. Why? It’s a really big list.

The number of charities has grown every year. In 2016, there are 124 charities looking to raise as much money as they can in the two-day period. They range from the Centre Region to Bellefonte to Philipsburg and Penns Valley and all points around the county.

There are health and human services agencies, groups promoting arts and culture, some that educate and some that promote the environment. The full list is available on the website.

But not everything is taking place on a computer screen. Plenty of organizations are having actual events to capitalize on the Centre Gives momentum.

A couple take place over Saturday and Monday, but on Tuesday, a dozen different events will encourage supporters to have fun while remembering the fundraising goals.

Miller said the groups participating have also been spending time learning how to make the most of their 36 hours. Charities have learned how to use social media, how to tell their story and how to show donors how much their gifts mean.

“The community has really rallied around the 36 hour sense of urgency,” she said. “We have received over 17,000 gifts since 2012.”

Centre Foundation says that almost $3 million has been pumped into Centre County nonprofits through the event.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce