Three years ago, Western Kansas Community Foundation decided to host a giving event during Giving Tuesday. Now each year, on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, WKCF holds Match Day.
This year’s event brought in about $580,000 to support 34 local nonprofits — about $100,000 more than last year. Final results will be announced Jan. 10.
Seven of the nonprofits that participated serve the greater Leoti area. Only organizations that have an endowment fund with the WKCF can participate.
“We want to showcase the work that our organizations are doing in the greater community,” said Conny Bogaard, executive director of WKCF. “We want to promote community philanthropy, where the whole community comes together in an effort to celebrate the great efforts of nonprofits.”
Individuals and area businesses contributed $75,000 to use as a match. The money collected on Tuesday went directly to the organization that collected it to use for immediate needs. However, on top of these donated community funds, a percentage of the $75,000 match is given to each participating organization. The amount of the match each nonprofit receives is dependent upon the percentage of money that organization brought in on Tuesday. No organization, though, can obtain more than 50% of the match.
The money the organizations receive from their match goes into their endowment fund. This means the money is invested and can earn money from interest into perpetuity.
The Tumbleweed Festival, which brings both national and international music talent into the area, decided to join the WKCF this year, partly because of the endowment.
“It helps with future funding,” said Whitney Buchman, vice president of the board. “We amped up so we could make it.”
Other organizations received the gift of matching funds last year.
“It’s securing a future for our program,” said Mackenzie Nix, an instructor for Miles of Smiles Therapeutic Horsemanship. “It’s important for all nonprofits to secure their future.”
Because it is so difficult to find funding, nonprofits benefit from teaching donors about their organization. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny County will use the money collected on Tuesday for budgeting next year’s programs.
“It helps to fund all the programs that are going to be coming up in the new year,” said Jeremy Moore, the board president.
Bogaard became executive director in 2015. Soon after, she started Match Day. Through her tutelage, the number of organizations has grown from 16 three years ago to 28 last year and 34 this year. The match amount has also increased from $50,000 to $75,000.
“It’s really growing,” Bogaard said. “It’s really inspiring.”
Each group at the table supports its fellow nonprofits.
“I love Match Day,” said Nikki Spanier, a spokesperson for Finney County Humane Society. “We all support each other. We all use each other. We are all a community.”