ARVADA, Colo., Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Coloradans did it again. In an astounding demonstration of support for Colorado nonprofits, donors from across the state contributed $12 million as part of Community First Foundation's
Colorado Gives Day 2011 — an increase of more than 40 percent compared to Colorado Gives Day 2010, which raised $8.4 million.
Individual contributions were received over an extended 36-hour period – 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6 until noon on Wednesday, Dec. 7 – at GivingFirst.org, the Foundation's online giving resource. Donations ranged from $10 to $500,000. Almost half of all donations made were either $50 or $100.
Because high traffic from generous donors and some technical issues caused some disruptions on GivingFirst.org, Community First Foundation extended the 24-hour period of online giving to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 7. The FirstBank Incentive Fund was applied through the extension. Contributions will be counted towards FirstBank "High Five" prizes (awarded in Jan.) as well as "Bonus Bucks" ($1,000 prizes donated by local businesses and Community First Foundation which were awarded through noon on Wednesday). Bonus Bucks awardees will be contacted via email by end of day Wednesday and winners will be posted at GivingFirst.org/COGivesDay/Prizes.
"The sky was indeed the limit this year," said Marla J. Williams, president and CEO of Community First Foundation. "The generosity and patience of Coloradans is overwhelming. We especially want to thank the donors who did not let the website issues diminish their outpouring of support for our Colorado nonprofits and thank the large number of new visitors to the GivingFirst site."
Colorado Gives Day 2011 had more than 52,000 donations—an increase of 150 percent over last year's 20,000 donations.
Significant contributions were made to human services organizations such as Denver Rescue Mission, Food Bank of the Rockies, Tennyson Center for Children at Colorado Christian Home and Boy Scouts of America. One donor contributed more than $19,000 to 30 different charities; another individual donated more than $28,000 to 12 different nonprofits.
In the collaborative spirit that makes Colorado such a special place, some nonprofits combined their resources to make an even more local impact during these challenging economic times, in communities such as Evergreen, Arvada, Colorado Springs, Eagle County, Weld County, Boulder County, Vail Valley and Pikes Peak.
The Networks of 9NEWS, Clear Channel, Comcast, Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Public Television (CPT 12, Channel 12), Entravision Communications and 5280 Magazine played instrumental roles as media sponsors of Colorado Gives Day 2011, promoting the effort to potential donors statewide. For the second year in a row, the first gift of the day was made to the "I Love You Guys" Foundation at 12:00 a.m. on Dec. 6. The last gift came in at noon on Dec. 7 to the Max Fund Animal Adoption Center. Social media played a central role in maintaining momentum throughout the 36-hour period.
Each individual contribution will receive a portion of the $300,000 FirstBank Incentive Fund. The distribution of the FirstBank Incentive Fund will be made at the end of the month. FirstBank also sponsored 12 new High Five prizes at $5,000 each. High Five prizes, created to stimulate giving and reward nonprofits for best performances, include Top Dollars Raised, Top Number of Donations, Largest Percent Increase in Dollars from 2010 and Top Dollars Raised through GivingFirst.org Fundraising Pages. The winners will be announced in January.
"We couldn't be more excited about the results of Colorado Gives Day 2011, and we're proud that FirstBank was again able to play a part in making it happen," said John Ikard, CEO of FirstBank Holding Company. "In addition to the total amount raised, it's especially exciting to see such a significant increase in the number of donations — from 20,000 last year to 52,000 this year. The growth in the number of donations proves that Colorado Gives Day is becoming something that every Coloradan can take part in. We are very pleased that people gave what they could in a difficult economy."
Similar to last year, processing fees were covered by Community First Foundation, FirstBank and 10 other Colorado foundations, so that 100 percent of Colorado Gives Day donations go directly to the participating nonprofits.
Part of the power of Colorado Gives Day is the way the program brings the nonprofit community together as supporting partners. This phenomenon took place at GivingFirst.org; a website created in 2007. Nearly $16 million has been collected through GivingFirst.org since its inception, not counting the $12 million raised for the second annual Colorado Gives Day. There are currently 932 nonprofits participating in GivingFirst.org. Nonprofits across the state who did not participate this year can create a profile on GivingFirst.org starting in March 2012 to receive the year-round fundraising benefits.
"Because we exceeded our 2010 goal by such a staggering amount, we figured the sky was the limit for Colorado Gives Day 2011," said Williams. "We're thrilled to see increases in numbers of donors, donations and nonprofits benefiting from this period of charitable giving."
All data is subject to financial reconciliations. Final numbers are expected to be available by the end of the month.
The GivingFirst.org website shares comprehensive and standardized information to help donors learn about and support local charities. This online resource offers a unique opportunity for a Colorado nonprofit to give the community a window into its work, detailing information about its programs, mission, management, finances and more. Requirements for charities to be part of GivingFirst include being headquartered in Colorado, having an IRS 990 form, and IRS recognition of its Federal 501 (c)(3) charitable status.
Results from Colorado Gives Day will continue to be finalized and updated on www.GivingFirst.org/COGivesDay.
About Colorado Gives Day
Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Presented once again by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day 2011 took place during a 36-hour period spanning Tuesday, Dec. 6, and Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. Donations were accepted through the website GivingFirst.org, with a goal to inspire and unite Coloradans in supporting local nonprofits. Colorado Gives Day media partners include The Networks of 9News, Clear Channel, Comcast, Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Public Television (CPT 12, Channel 12), Entravision Communications and 5280 Magazine. For information on Foundation, Bonus Bucks and HighFive sponsors, please visit: www.GivingFirst.org/COGivesDay.
About Community First Foundation
Community First Foundation helps donors and nonprofits come together to improve quality of life in the Denver metro area. We use our resources to fund community programs, support the services of nonprofit organizations, and assist individuals with charitable giving. By monitoring the pulse of the community, we create new and innovative programs such as GivingFirst,org, an online giving resource, and Colorado Gives Day, an initiative that inspired Coloradans to donate $12 million in 2011 and $8.4 million in 2010. We've been serving the region since 1975.
FirstBank operates more than 125 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California. FirstBank is the largest locally owned banking organization in Colorado, serving more than 600,000 customers. Since its inception in 1963, FirstBank has contributed $40 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable organizations. The bank was recognized as a 2010 "Partner in Philanthropy" by the Denver Business Journal because of its philanthropic activities. FirstBank is unique in that a majority of its stock is owned by management and employees. For more information, go to www.efirstbank.com.
SOURCE Community First Foundation