North Platte Giving Day continues into the evening

Ginger Ady, left, who manages the annual North Platte Giving Day on behalf of the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, explains the event’s online tracking system Wednesday afternoon to onlookers at a Giving Day reception at the Prairie Arts Center. Shown to Ady’s right are Rick Bourque, a board member of the Lute Family Foundation of Ogallala; his wife, Kathy, executive director of the Great Plains Health Foundation of North Platte; and Brandon Kelliher, the hospital’s chief information officer.

The spirit of North Platte Giving Day continued to grow during Wednesday’s fourth annual joint opportunity for residents to donate to their favorite charitable projects.

As of 12:30 a.m. Thursday, 68 organizations had received 837 donations totaling $235,996, according to the event’s website at

All those numbers were certain to rise as event organizers counted late-arriving donations, said Eric Seacrest, executive director of the sponsor, Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation. Preliminary totals should be available later today.

“Many of the groups are doing much better than they did last year,” Seacrest said as beneficiaries and major donors arrived for a Prairie Arts Center event reception. “We have more prizes and more matching funds than last year.”

North Platte Giving Day’s third edition last May collected $231,844 for local nonprofits. All the 68 groups that signed up to benefit from this year’s event had received donations as the midnight giving deadline approached.

Nonprofits receiving the most funds Wednesday will earn cash prizes to further boost their total cash donations. In addition, Seacrest said, eight major donors provided matching funds to encourage particular groups of people to chip in.

That octet included the Ogallala-based Lute Family Foundation, which offered up to $5,000 to match donations to the Great Plains Health Care Foundation, the fundraising arm of Great Plains Health of North Platte.

“We’re super-excited,” said Executive Director Kathy Bourque, whose husband, Rick, is a Lute Foundation board member. “We’ve had more (GPH) employee engagement this year than we ever have before, so it’s building on last year’s momentum.”

Funds raised Wednesday will help the GPH Foundation purchase a da Vinci “surgical robot” for the hospital, Kathy Bourque said. The robot was on display at a recent employee fundraising event at the hospital, she added.

Even though North Platte’s version of Giving Day is still relatively young, it’s already become a vital date on the calendar for the Boy Scouts of America’s North Platte-based Buffalo Bill District.

Betty Van Boening, finance chair for the 14-county district, said funds raised during the 2018 Giving Day supplied about 5 percent of her office’s budget. Among other activities, the district supports a Scout award and supply store in North Platte and the Whispering Cedars camp along Lake Maloney.

The event is “tremendous,” Van Boening said, “because No. 1, we have people giving who normally haven’t given (to the Scouts) because they didn’t know how to give or didn’t even know we were a nonprofit.

“No. 2, there’s some very generous donors who give prizes for Giving Day.”

Various communities hold similar Giving Day fundraisers at different points on the calendar, but Van Boening said the early May date seems to work well for North Platte.

“Some do it earlier, when I think people are still reeling from everything they do after the first of the year,” she said.

5 p.m. update: $138,278 in donations so far -- 605 donations to 60 organizations. Donors still have 7 hours left to give.

As of 2:30 p.m.: $90,568 has been donated to 57 organizations. 

Noon update: As of midday Wednesday, 340 donors had contributed $48,297 to 55 North Platte charitable organizations during the fourth annual North Platte Giving Day, according to the event's website. Donations may be made through midnight.

During last year’s Giving Day, $231,844 was raised for local nonprofits. Eric Seacrest, executive director of the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, is looking forward to another productive day on May 8.

There are 68 local nonprofit organizations signed up to participate during the 24-hour community giving event, Seacrest said.

“North Platte Giving Day is the best day to help community causes,” Seacrest said. “Just by donating, donors can help their favorite nonprofits earn pledged matching gifts and win cash prizes provided by sponsors.”

Seacrest said this is the fourth annual Giving Day in North Platte.

“It’s a good example of what you can do with technology and good software,” Seacrest said. “Just as important, it’s another example of what can be accomplished by networking and cooperating.”

Each of the nonprofits, Seacrest said, wanted to be involved.

“By working together, it makes it more convenient and easier for donors,” Seacrest said.

The foundation and an anonymous donor are covering costs of processing donations.

“North Platte Giving Day fits the mission of the Community Foundation to serve charitable people and worthy causes in this area,” said Kimberly Steger, Community Foundation president. “Our board of directors wants the community to know about the important work of nonprofits in this area and their need for financial support.”

The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands has released its 2019 Nonprofit Economic Impact Report. The report compiles data on the overall impact and growth of the nonprofit sector and found that nonprofits contribute greatly to Nebraska’s economy.

» There are 13,340 nonprofits in Nebraska.

» Nebraska has more nonprofits per 1,000 people than the United States overall.

» One in 11 Nebraskans were employed by a nonprofit in 2015.

» Nebraska ranks sixth in the United States for volunteerism.

» Nearly half of all Nebraskans donate their time through volunteering.

“Nonprofit organizations have a significant impact on the quality of community life across the entire state of Nebraska; however, many Nebraskans do not see the full impact that nonprofits have on their lives and their communities,” said NAM President and CEO Anne Hindery. “The 2019 Nonprofit Economic Impact Report creates awareness about the size and tremendous economic impact the nonprofit sector has on our state.”

The full report can be found at

Seacrest said 100 percent of each gift given on May 8 will go to donor-selected nonprofits. Online donations can be made at the website. Prescheduled donations can be entered online now and the gift will be charged on Giving Day. Checks can be delivered to one of several local donation sites on Giving Day as well.

Sites are: Orr’s Cleaners, U-Save Pharmacy, Catholic Schools Endowment, Prairie Arts Center, Senior Center/RSVP and Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation.

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