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give More 24

Patrons packed Roland Wines in Longview on Thursday evening as they came not only to eat, but to help Lower Columbia School Gardens try to win an additional $1000 prize for the number of Give More 24! contributions between 5 and 7 p.m. From left to right, Jennifer Wills watches Valerie Gray make a donation with guidance from LCSG supporter Gail Bishop.

More than 2,600 people had donated $960,331 to local nonprofits from midnight to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with six and half hours still remaining in the Give More 24! online fundraiser.

The event’s goal was $1.2 million, slightly more than the amount raised last year. The fundraiser, organized by the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, benefits 155 local causes.

Maury Harris, spokesman for the foundation, said the fundraiser was on track to meet its goal. Harris said the event has seen growth year after year in money raised and participation.

The first event in 2014 raised just under $500,000, Harris said. The speed of fundraising has also increased, he said. By noon this year, organizations had brought in $630,000, nearly double the $330,000 raised by noon last year.

This year saw the greatest number of nonprofits participating, Harris said, including more than 20 Cowlitz County organizations.

Lower Columbia School Gardens in Longview has participated in the event every year, Director Ian Thompson said.

“It’s been a great thing, very encouraging,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he was “thrilled” about the organization reaching 90 percent of its $10,000 goal by mid-afternoon. But Thompson said he was most excited that more than 100 people gave to the nonprofit.

“We’re so humbled about what that means and how widespread the support is,” Thompson said.

The Community Foundation got the idea for Give More 24! from the national event called Giving Tuesday, Harris said. The foundation wanted to created a localized version that provided nonprofits with a platform to raise money.

“It creates an easy, accessible, fun way for people to plug in to philanthropy,” Harris said.

For the first time the event included a peer-to-peer fundraising feature allowing individual supporters to lead a personal fundraising campaign on behalf of a participating nonprofit organization. Harris said the foundation also added the option for donors to cover their credit card processing fees for the nonprofit.

Many organizations also held events and activities Thursday to promote the fundraiser. Harris said this year was the most action-packed, with 31 events held in the region.

Participating nonprofits competed for 19 time-based $1,000 prizes.

The Lower Columbia School Gardens held a Give More 24! celebration at Roland Wines, which also helped it boost donations to try to win the “happy hour prize” given to the nonprofit that raises the most between 5 and 7 p.m.

Thompson said despite the competitiveness the prizes add to the fundraiser, the event is more about an overall community spirit.

Look for a final report about how much the event raised by midmorning Friday on and in Saturday’s print edition of The Daily News.

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