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Millions in cash raised for groups across Western Pa. during Day of Giving

| Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 2:07 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Madeline Worman, 3, of Greensburg plays in the water in Children's Museum of Pittsburgh in the North Side on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. The museum was one of 816 nonprofit groups seeking gifts on the annual Day of Giving.

The Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary went hog wild over the sixth annual Day of Giving on Tuesday.

The Sewickley nonprofit, which shelters and cares for abused farm animals such as pigs and goats, took part in Day of Giving for the first time. It was one of 816 organizations eligible for a matching donation from The Pittsburgh Foundation, an increase of 87 from last year.

“If we make $500, I'll be over-the-moon excited. If we make $1,000, what the money can do for us is just jaw-dropping,” said Dr. Karen Phillips, executive director and founder of the sanctuary. The group pays for feed, medications, surgeries and nutritional supplements for more than 100 animals.

Day of Giving is feeding off its success, said Christopher Whitlatch, a spokesman for The Pittsburgh Foundation.

“Organizations have watched what has happened. They share many board members, and they say, ‘Why can't we do this for our organization?' ” Whitlatch said. “It's a wonderful way to raise money and, maybe more importantly, awareness for your organization in Western Pennsylvania.”

As of 9 p.m., donors had given more than $3.7 million to local charities. Of that, $3,428,184 went to charities in Allegheny County, $253,647 to Westmoreland County and $58,573 to Butler County. Day of Giving raised $7.7 million last year, including the match.

The foundation will give up to $750,000 in matching funds for donations made to Allegheny County charities, about $50,000 for charities in Westmoreland and more than $10,000 for charities in Butler. Donations of $25 to $1,000 are matched on a prorated basis.

Another reason for the increase in eligible nonprofits is that Butler County's participation is a first.

“There are no current plans to add more counties, but I won't say it's out of the question,” Whitlatch said.

Last year, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh collected $26,346 from Day of Giving, including the match.

“There's not a better way to raise that much money for the museum in one day,” said Gina Evans, the museum's director of development.

She said last year's donors included 29 who had never contributed to the museum before. Day of Giving, Evans said, attracts new, younger donors because it's an online-only effort.

This year, the museum is adding a wrinkle to its Day of Giving campaign — a “thank-a-thon.”

“We're asking board members to call donors who made these gifts,” she said.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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