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Day of Giving offers big boost to nonprofits

| Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

More than $680,000 poured into the coffers of Westmoreland County nonprofits — including colleges, libraries and human service organizations — during the Day of Giving on Oct. 3.

The 24-hour online giving event, sponsored in this county by the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and in Allegheny County by The Pittsburgh Foundation, raised $8.5 million, an increase of more than 31 percent from 2011, according to figures released this week.

“We were thrilled just to really, really eclipse where we were last year,” said Susan Acito, associate program officer with the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County. “It was just a sure sign that people understand the value that nonprofits bring to Westmoreland County and to this region.”

All of the 665 nonprofits that registered for the event received donations during the event, which offered nonprofits a pro-rated match for every dollar received.

Public donations in Westmoreland County totaled $597,212, with matching funds of $85,000, bringing the total to $682,212.

In Allegheny County, donations and the match totaled $7,858,133.

Last year's Day of Giving generated $435,000 in donations and $100,000 in matching funds in Westmoreland.

This year, Ligonier Camp and Conference Center, which offers summer camps and retreat facilities, led Westmoreland in funds received with $44,180 in public donations and a $6,185 match.

It was the second year in a row the Camp and Conference Center came in on top. Last year, it received more than $37,000.

Patrick Myers, executive director of the Camp and Conference Center, said the organization uses the Day of Giving as a kickoff for its year-end campaign. The center relies on donations for about 20 percent of its annual budget to keep the cost of summer camp affordable for the average family, Myers said.

Center staff reached out to families of its campers to ask for donations on the Day of Giving. Past campers from decades ago have proven to be generous.

“You do everything that you can do but you never know for sure what the response is going to be, so it was pretty exciting to see,” Myers said. Nonprofits received 17,719 individual donations, up from 13,643 in 2011.

The Westmoreland County Food Bank received 235 individual donations — the most in the county. With $24,101 received, plus a $3,374 match, the food bank was also among the top 10 in funds received.

It's the most the food bank has received through the Day of Giving.

“We really can use it right now,” said Louise Wilhelm, volunteer and food drive coordinator. “We want to maintain giving as much as we can here, and it's going to come in real handy for that.”

Acito said the Community Foundation's goal is to raise $1 million for Westmoreland nonprofits on the Day of Giving.

“I think that would make a great statement for this community.,” Acito said.

Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or jreeger@tribweb.com.

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