Minnesotans' outpouring of generosity in the midst of a pandemic catapulted the final tally for the annual Give to the Max Day to $30.5 million.
By the end of Thursday, GiveMN's website hauled in more than $8 million over last year's record — which boosted support for more than 6,000 organizations as many face rising costs and depleted revenue from the pandemic.
"We've been caught up in a philanthropic wave," said Jason Viana, executive director of the Open Door Pantry in Eagan, which collected $45,000, more than double the amount raised last year.
Second Harvest Heartland, one of seven food banks in the state, drew $933,000 — nearly three times last year's campaign. The Lake Street Council, which raised more than $8 million to help businesses rebuild after civil unrest, drew $50,000 from Give to the Max Day after bringing in only $135 last year. The St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation, which just started a fund for families of health care workers who died of COVID-19, drew more than 40 times what the organization raised in 2019 with $174,000.
Like a lot of food shelves, Open Door Pantry is serving double the number of people during COVID-19. But Viana adjusted year-end budget goals, fearing donor fatigue. Instead, he's seen double the number of donors in 2020 and many new volunteers.
"It's surprising … I think people were looking to do something good," he said.
The tally counts all donations since Nov. 1. (Donations come with a 6.9% fee, though GiveMN says most donors pay that fee on top of their donation.) The next philanthropic push is Dec. 1, the national effort called Giving Tuesday.