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Published: Thursday, 12/18/2008

Donors help make 1st Match Day unmatched

BLADE STAFF

FINDLAY The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation decided to try something new yesterday: offering to match up to $300,000 in donations made to local nonprofits.

Little did they know, the match money would be depleted in just two short hours.

Four nonprofits camped out in Tuesday night s snowstorm so they d be the first to deliver checks from supporters yesterday morning, ensuring they d double their money.

Foundation spokesman Christa Steiner called the first-time event a definite success, citing the financial need local nonprofits are experiencing.

When we started out, we thought, Could we even use $300,0000? As we got closer to the date, we started wondering how quickly will this run out, but I don t think anyone was anticipating two hours, she said.

Representatives of Open Arms Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services were the first in line about 4 p.m. Tuesday, though the foundation didn t begin taking donations for Match Day until 8 a.m. yesterday. By midnight, they were joined by the Women s Resource Center, Cancer Patient Services, and Hancock Christian Clearing House.

The matching funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of the participating organizations had collected donations in advance.

There were at least three agencies in line who said, This will keep our doors open, Ms. Steiner said. They literally didn t know how they were going to pay next month s rent.

While the match money was depleted by 10 a.m., the foundation continued to accept checks through the day, receiving a total of $406,008 by noon. By the time their office closed at 8 last night, donations were at $421,259.

Ms. Steiner said a few people were disappointed when they brought their check after 10 a.m. and found out it wouldn t be doubled.

When we told people the match money was gone, nine times out of 10, they said, That s wonderful, she said. It s been outstanding.



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