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Pittsburgh Foundation reports record $7.6 million donated on Day of Giving

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 12:03 a.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Mazzei, 34, a teaching artist helps Charles McDonald, 8, of Harmony make a silkscreen at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild during their RADical Days festival on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A person walks by a jazz painting titled 'Smokin' Nat Adderly by artist Douglas Webster, on exhibit at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild during their RADical Days festival on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Keith Hershberger throws a pot at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild during their RADical Days festival on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A person walks the fountain at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild during their RADical Days festival on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review

Donors in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties set a record for generosity by giving more than $7.6 million on Wednesday's Day of Giving.

Adding $830,000 in matching funds from The Pittsburgh Foundation, sponsor of the event, the day yielded a record $8.4 million, compared to $6.4 million last year, according to preliminary figures released by the foundation Thursday morning.

“The results far exceeded our expectations, and we're amazed and delighted,” said foundation spokesman John Ellis. He said the final data will be completed next week.

“At this moment, it looks like the match will be from 10 to 11 cents on the dollar,” he said.

Since 2009, the match day has allowed donors to make online gifts of at least $25 to nonprofit groups. All of the 665 charities in the two counties that were eligible to receive donations received online gifts, the foundation reported.

Supporters of the Hollywood Theater said Wednesday that their first Day of Giving will help put more people in its seats.

“Theaters across the country have been having a horrible 2012. When you're standing at the door trying to sell tickets and nobody shows up, it's like having a party where none of your guests come,” said Margaret Jackson, a board member of the theater in Dormont.

“Having a very good Day of Giving could give us the cushion we need for the slow months as well as money” to get a backup bulb for our projector and maybe a digital projector, she said.

Foundation spokesman John Ellis apologized for a technical glitch. Five organizations did not appear in a drop-down menu as a choice even though they were registered to participate. Foundation officials noticed and corrected the problem between 12 and 3 a.m. Wednesday for Family House, GTECH, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth and Crafts, and Nego Gato, an Afro-Brazilian music and dance ensemble.

A fifth group, the Fred Rogers Co., noticed a similar problem and the foundation fixed it by 11:30 a.m., Ellis said. Alan Friedman, development director for the company, declined to comment.

“If anyone's had a problem in giving to organizations that were affected by this, then we will accept it belatedly,” Ellis said.

Andrew Butcher, founder and CEO of GTECH, said he didn't notice the problem. Based in Larimer, the group reclaims vacant land and collects and recycles waste such as cooking oil.

Butcher said he hopes the group makes as much as the $11,000, including the match, it made on last year's Day of Giving. He said Pittsburgh Steelers Max Starks and Maurkice Pouncey touted his organization this year on Twitter.

Cindy Elliott, development director of Valley Points Family YMCA in New Kensington, sat in the YMCA's lobby on Wednesday and encouraged visitors to donate. The group set up computers where people could contribute.

She said her YMCA would at least like to reach last year's total of $23,000, including the match.

“As the Day of Giving grows more successful and more nonprofits are made aware of it, there's more competition for those dollars,” she said.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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