HELENA — UPDATE: The final tally is in, and this year's Greater Helena Gives campaign brought in $142,180 from 819 donors, in 24 hours. That is far above the event's previous record of $89,000 in donations.
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The annual Greater Helena Gives campaign has smashed its previous record, bringing in well over $100,000 for nonprofits around the area.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, the 24-hour event had brought in more than $125,000 for 74 participating nonprofits – and the final tally was still an hour away.
Emily Flemming is executive director of the Helena Area Community Foundation, which has organized the campaign for six years. She said last year’s event brought in about $69,000, and the previous record had been around $89,000.
“We’re really thrilled,” Flemming said. “Nonprofits needed this this year. People are struggling, and more and more people are turning to nonprofits to help them get through this. To see the nonprofits really coming out on top today is just so exciting – I’m on the verge of tears, I’m so happy.”
Leaders said, during the COVID-19 emergency, many Helena nonprofits had a particular need.
“Some organizations get remembered when there’s an emergency, because their services seem extra essential,” said Flemming. “But other nonprofits sometimes get left behind in the wake of an emergency, so this is a really good way for them to also get back and get ready to rebound and reopen.”
Flemming said they didn’t know what to expect from donors this year, since it is a difficult time for many in the community. However, donors stepped up – many of them contributing larger amounts than in previous years.
“We’ve had people make large donations, pointing out that they think Helena’s nonprofits needed their stimulus check more than they did,” she said. “That sentiment just makes me love our Helena community even more –that people will say, ‘Hey, wait, I’m okay, but I know other people aren’t, so let me give even bigger than I would have normally.”
The official 24-hour campaign wraps up Friday at 6 p.m., but Flemming said, this year, people can still donate through May 5 – which some nonprofits are highlighting as a “Giving Tuesday.” If you are interested in donating, you can go to the Greater Helena Gives website.
Flemming said they are grateful for all the support they’ve seen.
“We appreciate Helena,” she said. “This is one of those days where we get a real sense of what our community spirit looks like.”