Edmund Hillary, many would argue, was an extraordinary individual. After all, he, with the help of his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, scaled Mount Everest successfully, way back in 1953. Prior to them reaching the summit, nobody else had ever done it. Hillary, however, would not claim to be extraordinary. “People do not decide to become extraordinary,” he said. “They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”
This coming Friday (November 17) represents an opportunity for every single person in Lancaster County to accomplish something extraordinary. Lancaster County’s annual day of giving, The Extraordinary Give through the Lancaster County Community Foundation, enters its sixth year. The Give allows nonprofits that are located in Lancaster County or serve the County to receive funds through a 24-hour giving marathon. This year, there are 464 charities that registered to receive funds through the event.
Each and every year of the Give, there has been a new record for total giving. Last year, the total number of gifts cracked the $7 million mark for the first time, which was four times greater than in the inaugural event of 2012 and almost twice as much as just two years prior in 2014.
In addition to the total number of dollars received increasing each and every year, so has the total number of participating charities. The event started with 192 nonprofits in 2012, increased to 260 and, then 307 and 367 before having 427 participating organizations last year. Even with this incredible increase in potential recipients, the average amount given per organization has also continued to increase each year, although 2015 and 2016 were very close to each other.
The reason I am particularly fond of the Extraordinary Give is that it brings the entire community together for a singular purpose, to raise funds for the organizations that make significant, positive differences in the County. LCCF president and CEO Sam Bressi explained, “The community pride that’s been felt around this event has been really beyond our wildest expectations.”
Furthermore, many of these organizations make lifelong connections to new donors through the program. For some charities, the donations they receive on Friday will represent a significant portion of their annual budget.
I also appreciate how easy contributions can be made and tracked throughout the day. I typically have the website up on my phone and refresh it frequently to see the level of total donations. There are events throughout the County to celebrate the day and raise funds for individual organizations, and there is a free party at the Lancaster Marriott & Lancaster County Convention Center in the evening that last until midnight so that all attendees can be there when the final dollar amount is tabulated.
Thanksgiving is next week, and Lancaster County residents can look at the list of charities in the Extraordinary Give and identify at least one for which they are particularly thankful. It would be awesome if everyone made a donation to one or more charities that hold a special place for you, even if it is just for the minimum allowed donation of $25. For those who have given consistently in the past, incrementally increasing 2016’s gift would also make a positive impact.
Friday is an opportunity for a county full of ordinary people to do something extraordinary and make a tangible difference for participating charities and the community that they serve.
By Dan Massey, CPA, Manager