Community foundation's Match Day raises about $524K for nonprofits

Meghan Flynn

The fourth year of the Western Kansas Community Foundation’s Match Day fundraiser was successful.

Connie Bogaard, executive director of WKCF, said the event Tuesday had great community participation and raised about $524,000, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers are pleased with the preliminary number, Bogaard said. It includes the amount raised, grant prizes and the matching funds the WKCF provides.

Thirty-six nonprofits participated this year, with Emmaus House, Garden City Family YMCA and United Way the top earners.

In 2019, about $526,000 was raised.

Match Day was first held in Garden City in 2017 and has been held annually since on Giving Tuesday and seeks to raise funds in support of local nonprofits, Bogaard said.

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving, but in the United States it falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, so it’s called Giving Tuesday, Bogaard said.

Four years ago, the WKCF decided to take advantage of the day and host its own fundraising campaign and called it Match Day because the foundation wanted to provide matching dollars to participating nonprofits, Bogaard said.

This year the event was held a bit differently because of COVID-19, Bogaard said.

First, the foundation had an online option where people could donate through a secure donor portal. Second, the campaign began on Nov. 15, two weeks before the real Match Day, to allow flexibility so people could mail in or drop off a check or cash at the office.

“{That was a good decision, I think, a lot of people took advantage of that. They came in since Nov. 15, so we had already received a lot of donations before the actual Match Day, then it peaked ... on the day itself,” she said.

A lot of people came through the office, but a lot of people gave online as well, Bogaard said. Additionally, the foundation had a drive-thru option on Tuesday, which generated a little over $3,000.

Bogaard is happy the WKCF was able to hold the event this year and was pleased with how generously the community gave.

The need was great this year due to the pandemic, Bogaard said. The foundation has seen a lot of nonprofits struggling to keep their programs going and to host their own fundraisers and keep the lights on, so the foundation felt extra urgency to hold the campaign this year.

“We're so grateful that a lot of people understood that and stepped up and gave very generously toward the campaign so that we almost have the same results as last year despite the pandemic and despite the fact that we were doing it online,” she said.

Nonprofits depend on donor gifts and grants, and they saw the impact of the pandemic quickly as they get those funds from community members and local businesses who were also hit by the pandemic, Bogaard said. There was a snowball effect.

“At the same time, their services are so much needed and I think especially of those social services that had to respond to special needs during the COVID crisis like homelessness and food pantries,” she said. “Those services saw an extra need because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Bogaard said seeing the generosity of community members to help each other feels great.

“It's our job as a community foundation to connect those to, to connect the donors with the causes that they care about,” she said. “Then to see how that works on a campaign like Match Day, that's just beautiful, especially at this year like you said because the extra need there is, there's so much need and to see how people in this community are coming together, are giving generously to this cause.”