Miami-Dade County

We gave more than ever, pulling in a record-setting haul for Give Miami Day

Volunteers at Give Miami Day headquarters at Marlins Park helped the Miami Foundation raise a record $10.1 million in 24 hours on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. From right are Keria Rebustillo, Kamilah Wallen, Staycie Gabelus and Justin Harris of The Miami Foundation.
Volunteers at Give Miami Day headquarters at Marlins Park helped the Miami Foundation raise a record $10.1 million in 24 hours on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. From right are Keria Rebustillo, Kamilah Wallen, Staycie Gabelus and Justin Harris of The Miami Foundation.

So all those email and #GiveMiamiDay social media pleas paid off.

For 24 hours, tens of thousands of people responded to the pitches Thursday to raise a record-setting $10.1 million for Give Miami Day.

The Miami Foundation had set a goal of hitting $10 million — $900,000 more than last year’s haul.

The yearly fundraising blitz for Miami-Dade charities and nonprofits, which began at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and ended at midnight, drew 20,413 donors. This year, 695 charities participated, up from 668 last year. A wide range of charities rallied their supporters through social media to donate during the special day, which offers bonus funds to the nonprofits.

The beneficiaries of this largesse included well-established organizations such as the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Actors’ Playhouse, and Miami Herald Charities, which sponsors Wish Book, the annual program to help families in and around the holidays. This year, Wish Book added $5,650 from 42 gifts.

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation topped Give Miami Day’s leaderboard by raising $507,123. The Community Arts Program had the highest number of individual gifts — 623 donations — for a total of $33,738. The Miami Film Festival received the largest individual gift of $55,250.

The program also helped smaller nonprofits, like Actors’ Playhouse, which, in addition to its theatrical presentations at the Miracle Theatre and annual Young Talent Big Dreams competition for children ages 8 to 7, offers community and educational outreach programs. The Coral Gables organization, which currently celebrates its 30th anniversary with English and Spanish productions of the Broadway staple “Evita,” earned $4,950 this year.

Some of the groups’ personal stories resonated with donors. The Keri Heiken Fund provides college scholarships to Miami-Dade students in memory of Keri Heiken, an honor student at North Miami Beach Senior High who died in a car crash in 1998. The fund raised $6,735 through 45 gifts.

“Miami came through for our local nonprofits like never before,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “It is so inspiring to see people want to give no matter the amount. The last 24 hours have reflected that spirit of generosity, which is clearly pervasive throughout the community. We are so pleased that Give Miami Day continues to be a transformational vehicle to help tackle the issues and concerns that matter most to Miami.”

The Foundation and its partners match gifts of $25 to $10,000.

This year’s result exceeded last year’s tally of $9.1 million, raised from more than 20,000 donations.

Among the other success stories: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden garnered $295,640 from 240 donors. Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts made $134,091 from 238 donors. The Humane Society of Greater Miami scored $63,135 from 273 donors. Gene Spotlight raised the largest amount, $262,325 from 263 gifts, among small-sized organizations.

Small nonprofits also included CodeArt, an organization that teaches girls how to code computers and which only started last year. These groups count on Give Miami Day to shore up fledgling budgets.

The founder of CodeArt was ecstatic over how much money the group raised this year. Amy Renshaw, CodeArt co-founder and executive director, said they had hoped to raise $15,000. Instead, they raised $26,768 from 149 donors.

“For small organizations like ours, we would not be able to do this on our own,” said Renshaw.

“It’s really been moving and humbling,” Renshaw added. “You feel like you are part of this bigger thing on Give Miami Day.”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

By the numbers:

Total raised: $10.1 million

Total donors: 20,413

Total gifts: 31,820

Charity that raised the most: The Greater Miami Jewish Federation, $507,123

Charity that received the most gifts: The Community Arts Program, 623 donations for $33,738

Highest individual donation: $55,250 for The Miami Film Festival

Source: Miami Foundation

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