The Western Kansas Community Foundation's second annual Match Day went head and shoulders above expectations, raising more than $350,000 and more than doubling the amount of money distributed to local nonprofits through last year’s event.

This year, the mass fundraiser raised about $351,950 in donations, tripling the $111,171 raised in 2017. In total, including the foundation’s $50,000 match pool and $2,050 in prize mini-grants, the 2018 Match Day will give out $404,000 compared to $163,000 last year, said Conny Bogaard, WKCF executive director.

The day also attracted a lot of new donors to the foundation, Bogaard said. More than 800 people donated at the WKCF office this year, a significant jump from the 280 last year.

The numbers, she said, were comparable to larger, more established Match Day events at the Greater Manhattan and Greater Salina community foundations.

“We’re very, very excited … It’s unbelievable for us,” Bogaard said.

Match Day had grown exponentially since its inaugural year even before totals were counted. The WKCF partnered with the Wichita County Community Foundation and went from 15 participating nonprofits in Finney County last year to 28 in Finney, Wichita and Gray counties in 2018.

This year, participating nonprofits included the Community Betterment Fund, Dr. Stephen Meyers Fund, Emmaus House, Finney County Community Health Coalition, Finney County Historical Society, Finney County Humane Society, Finney County Public Library, Finney County United Way, Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo, Garden City Arts, Garden City Family YMCA, Garden City Public Schools Foundation, High Plains Public Radio, Leadership Garden City, Leave a Legacy Foundation, Miles of Smiles Therapeutic Horsemanship, Mosaic, Russell Child Development Center, Shepherd of the Plains Foundation of Cimarron, St. Catherine Hospital’s Benincasa Hospitality House, Women of Purpose Fund, Happy One of Leoti, Hearth Strings to Purse Strings, Wichita County 4-H and Fair Fund, Wichita County Economic Development, Wichita County Health Center and Wichita County Whole Health Fund.

Every nonprofit must open an endowment fund with the foundation, and several did so purely to participate in Match Day, Bogaard said Tuesday. The result, she said, would mean long-term support from the foundation for all involved.

“Match Day is a wonderful incentive for the nonprofits to start an endowment fund with us because that makes you eligible to participate,” Bogaard said. “That is also one of our goals, apart from supporting the nonprofits with their operating and marketing and raising awareness, getting new donors, it’s also very much about endowment building. That is the core business of every community foundation. And that gives these nonprofits a long-term savings account for their future.”

Over the 12-hour Match Day, the vast majority of donations came through the WKCF office in Garden City, though about $43,000 came through the Wichita County foundation's office, $31,000 from the Shepherd of the Plains Foundation of Cimarron and $30,000 from online donations, which were available all day, Bogaard said.

All money goes to the nonprofits — the foundation even covers the PayPal transaction fee for online donations, Bogaard said.

The foundation is still tabulating how much each nonprofit raised, and a final breakdown, including the distribution of the match pool and winners of the mini-grants, will be announced at the WKCF Christmas Party on Dec. 7, Bogaard said.

“We hope to expand it and make this a really good tradition from here,” she said.


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