Colorado Gives Day: Extended online charity bonanza raises $12 million

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Update: Colorado Gives Day, the one-day online charity marathon that began at midnight on Tuesday but extended until noon today due to technical difficulties, raised $12 million for 932 local nonprofits, according to a preliminary count.

That's a lot higher total than last year, when donors contributed over $8 million.

More than 52,000 donations were made this year, as opposed to 20,000 last year. According to organizers, one donor contributed in excess of $19,000 to thirty charities, while another contributed $28,000-plus to twelve nonprofits. Like last year, the first donation was made at 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday to the "I Love U Guys" Foundation. The last gift was made at noon today to the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center.

Update, Tuesday, 5:15 p.m.: Colorado Gives Day, the second-annual 24-hour online charitable bonanza, has been extended until noon tomorrow, December 7. Why? "The site was experiencing some difficulties due to high traffic," explains Angela Bevacqua of the Community First Foundation, the organization behind the event.

"We want to make sure everyone gets a chance to donate," she adds.

So far, lots of people have. As of 4 p.m., the total raised was $6.3 million.

Original post, Tuesday, 10:12 a.m.: The inaugural Colorado Gives Day last year far surpassed organizers' expectations. Their hope was that the 24-hour online charity bonanza would net $1 million for 529 local nonprofits through the website GivingFirst.org. But the total was much higher: $8.7 million. So do they have any predictions for today?

In short, no. "Because last year, we estimated $1 million and nearly $9 million came in, we're afraid to put a number out!" says Angela Bevacqua of the Arvada-based Community First Foundation, the organization behind the event. "We're saying the sky's the limit."

This year, the number of nonprofits participating has doubled and there are more prizes and incentives. While the Community First Foundation continues to pick up the credit card transaction fees, ensuring 100 percent of the donations go to the nonprofits, the organizers are also holding "Bonus Bucks" drawings every hour that will add $1,000 to one person's donation. In addition, FirstBank is sponsoring twelve "High Five" prizes of $5,000 each to be awarded to nonprofits based on their performance.

So will this year's giving blow last year's out of the water? The Community First Foundation will release preliminary numbers at 6 a.m. tomorrow, Bevacqua says. In the meantime, if you're looking for a deserving nonprofit, check out our suggestions for five Colorado arts nonprofits deserving of your dollars.

More from our Things To Do archives: "Race of the Santas: Getting in shape for the Christmas rush in Breckenridge (PHOTOS)."

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