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The 24-hour fundraising blitz that caps a month of charitable giving Love Utah Give Utah resulted in just over a million dollars raised for participating nonprofits.
The fundraiser gives nonprofits and charitable causes a platform to reach donors and promote events such as Nuzzles and Co.'s puppy and kitty snuggle lounge but also shows the wide range of charitable causes in Utah, from preserving wildlife to refurbishing bikes for kids.
By midnight Thursday, 12,423 individual donors had raised $1,085,982, short of the $1.7 million goal set by Community Foundation of Utah, the campaign's parent entity.
"I'll take a million any day," said Alex Eaton, executive director of CFU, on Friday. "I think my goals are always aspirational, but hitting a million in a 24-hour period? You can't argue with that one."
In addition to encouraging philanthropic giving, the fundraiser is a competition: the organizations that attract the highest number of donors win prizes.
Participating nonprofits were divided into four categories animals competing against the environment, arts and culture pitted against education, for example and the top three in each group win extra cash.
Salt Lake Arts Academy, Salty Cricket Composers Collective and Plan-B Theater Company were the top three groups in the "Discover and Enlightenment" category.
A close race in the "Caring for our Friends and Places" category saw Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah edge Best Friends Animal Society for third place, with Wildlife SOS and Humane Society of Utah taking the top spots.
After hosting a workout to raise money, Fit to Recover an exercise facility that combines sobriety with fitness held the No. 3 spot in the "Nurturing our Families" category. The Rape Recovery Center and the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah finished in first and second, respectively.
In the "Inspiring our Community" category, YWCA Utah took first, followed by Rocky Mountain Innocence Center and the Moab Valley Multicultural Center in second and third, respectively.
The Moab Valley Multicultural Center (MVMC), a facility that bridges language and cultural divides, has finished in the top three of its category before: Last year, when groups were delineated by budget size, MVMC took a prize in the small-budget category. The roughly $20,000 raised by individual donors, a matching donation and the prize money enabled the center to hire a new staff member.
Joanna Onorato had been a volunteer for the center. Now, as the outreach coordinator, Onorato finds clients who could benefit from the center's programs, which range from helping with tasks such as applying for apartments and signing kids up for school to supporting clients who deal with domestic violence.
Funds raised for the walk-in crisis center went toward helping clients navigate court systems and tackle immigration issues.
Because the minimum suggested donation is $10 for Love Utah Give Utah, MVMC volunteer coordinator Katlyn Keane said donating is more accessible to a lot of the clients her organization serves many who are in low income brackets.
"It's really good to be able to ask our clients to contribute to the services they're receiving, and a $10 ask is not a scary ask," Keane said. "I like giving our clients an opportunity to contribute to something they utilize."
In addition to daily support, the center hosts cultural outreach, mentoring and other youth programs. In 2015, the center logged 733 hours of support, and in 2016, it increased that time to 905 hours.
Although the competition is over, the platform to donate to any of the participating nonprofit remains open at http://www.LoveUTGiveUT.com.