Overall, more than $185,000 was raised during this week’s Norfolk Area Big Give — with more than 1,200 donations.
The Briggs & Barrett Project topped the list with more than $64,000 to go toward Owlet smart socks for babies, followed by Sacred Heart Church of Norfolk’s nearly $60,000 fundraising total that will be used to purchase Bibles and renovate the track at Norfolk Catholic’s athletic complex.
Rounding out the top five were Orphan Grain Train with more than $8,500, Faith Regional Health Service Foundation with more than $5,500 and Liberty Centre Services Inc. with more than $4,600.
The remaining amounts for the other 27 nonprofit organizations ranged from $50 to just over $4,000. Overall, 19 organizations raised more than $1,000 and six more raised at least $500.
The number of donors and the amount donated doubled from last year, Samantha Lindahl, chair of the Philanthropy Council of Northeast Nebraska, said. She credits the fundraiser's success not only to good weather and the week-long giving window, but also to the community's drive to give back.
"I'm just so amazed at the northeast Nebraska community," she said. "We pulled together, overcame the pandemic and feel stronger than ever. Nonprofits deserve awareness, and that is just what they got thanks to the Big Give."
Here’s a look at how some of the donations will be used.
Liberty Centre Services
Donations kept floating in to the Liberty Centre Services Inc. as workers delivered 650 root beer "Hope Floats" to more than 60 locations Tuesday. This year, workers switched it up by making home and office deliveries, but next year they might put together something even bigger: a drive-thru.
For now, however, the mental health nonprofit is celebrating its Big Give success.
Executive director Patty Skokan said the workers were "super excited" to have garnered $4,608 in donations, circling back to pre-pandemic numbers. The amount raised had consistently doubled yearly since its beginnings and, as always, will provide assistance to some programs for which there is no funding.
"We believe strongly that our mission is to help people regain their lives as coworkers and friends," Skokan said. "Our goal is not to help people barely manage; we want to help people get a job and be members of society again."
Donating to local causes is important, Skokan said, to make the area better for its inhabitants. By serving through the Big Give, everyone can feel as if they are part of the healing process.
"In general, our community is better if all of us are healthy and living great lives," she said. "We're lucky (and) blessed to be here. People really rally for good causes."
Behavioral Health Specialists
Those who donated to Behavioral Health Specialists Inc. received a balloon from a special guest — a worker in a unicorn costume.
BHS workers and their furry friend delivered around 60 balloons during Tuesday's Big Give to raise money for children in the foster system. Proceeds went directly back into the service's youth fund to buy backpacks and clothes to ease the pressure often placed on foster parents. It was a way to give back and make life a little easier for those who need it.
"There's always that need," finance director Neil Broders said, "so it will allow them to continue to take the burden off."
The team at BHS was "highly impressed" at the total of $1,190 raised, Broders said. No matter the dollar amount, he was just proud of the community for supporting its mission.
"It's good to see the community come together and take the change to give big," he said.
Women's Empowering Life Line
Workers at the Women's Empowering Life Line chose to deliver breakfast burritos to donors in morning to stand out from other nonprofits holding events at lunchtime or the evening.
"It's fun to get a kick start the big day by delivering local business breakfast," Lindahl, also the quality improvement coordinator at WELL, said.
The donations raised will go directly to the Mommy and Me program, which offers treatment resources, groceries and other baby supplies to those who need them.
This year marks WELL's 30th year in Norfolk, and Lindahl wanted to extend a thank you to the community.
"Some community members thank us for helping their sister, mother, friend, daughter ... so now is our turn to return the thanks."
Those who made at least a $5 donation to Daycos' Food-O-Gram drive got to put a personalized message on a cookie, potato, cupcake or banana delivered to a loved one.
Daycos matched all donations with their Daycos4Good program, with employees' contributions tripled, said Amy Himburg, the company's revenue assurance specialist. Donors were able to choose from over 20 nonprofits to give to through the program and by the end of the day had raised $6,840.
"It will be a nice boost for the community nonprofits," Himburg said. "We like to support the community in as many ways as we can, and this event gives us the opportunity to support multiple nonprofits at once."