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The idea behind Love UT Give UT is that it should be no sweat to donate to a favorite local nonprofit.

But it can be — sweaty, that is — if you'd prefer.

Fit To Recover, a Salt Lake City gym and community center for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, asked members and their friends and family to raise funds by exercising during Thursday's daylong funding drive.

Their 30,000 situps, pushups, pullups and other such exertions netted more than $1,500 in contributions pledged by donors in 2015, part of more than $8,000 the gym raised overall.

Said Sarah Kappos with a laugh: "I remember feeling like I didn't want to do one more burpee."

Now in its fourth year, Love UT Give UT generated $1.2 million for nearly 500 nonprofits in 2015. Community Foundation of Utah, the philanthropic program's parent entity, said in a news release that it hoped for $1.6 million in 2016's one-day drive.

Nonprofits are divided into four groups: large, medium, small and micro. Prizes of up to $10,000 are awarded to those in each category with the most unique donors. Fit To Recover, with 130 unique donors as of 4 p.m. Thursday, stood to earn a small-category third-place prize of $3,000 if it could hold that standing until midnight.

The gym was founded by Ian Acker, a former collegiate soccer player who moved to Utah for drug and alcohol treatment and began leading "boot camp" workouts in Sugar House Park in August 2012.

Kappos, who has been sober for almost 11 years, said she had lost touch with many of the friends she'd made when she first went clean.

Acker said she found the camaraderie she'd been missing in her group.

When Acker told Kappos — a 36-year-old artist who earned a degree in art education at the U. and teaches at YouthCity — that he planned to acquire a building, and that he planned for her to paint it, she didn't think much of it, she said.

But he followed through. In January 2015, Acker and other Fit To Recover members repurposed a 5,500-square-foot warehouse at 789 W. 1390 South into a gym and community center, complete with a large pull-up rig, stacks of weights, a small recording studio, a kitchen and a garden.

One year later, they added a climbing wall.

And to the joy of Kappos, their "artist in residence," the new building was all white — a blank canvas, befitting a place that sometimes would serve people who had been sober for only days.

Said Kappos, sketching the outlines of climbers and hikers on craggy rocks that will replace another work she is donating to Volunteers of America-Utah's new Youth Resource Center: "It's like a dream come true."

Donations to Fit To Recover and more than 450 nonprofits can be made at

Twitter: @matthew_piper