Colorado Gives Day raises more than $8 million during 24-hour charitable giving bonanza

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Update: The numbers are in! More than 18,700 donors contributed over $8 million to more than 500 nonprofits in 24 hours yesterday during the inaugural Colorado Gives Day. That's eight times more than organizers expected to raise.

"As the momentum began to build the last few weeks, we hoped that the inaugural Colorado Gives Day would exceed the $1 million target," said Marla Williams, president of the Community First Foundation, the organization behind the one-day donation bonanza. "The success is overwhelming. We could not have anticipated the amazing outpouring of support that Coloradans showed for our nonprofits."

The top donation-getters were the Denver Rescue Mission, Food Bank of the Rockies and the Jeffco Action Center, according to a press release. The Tennyson Center for Children, Advocates For Children and Teen Challenge got a deluge of donations, too.

The first donation of the day was made at 12:01 a.m. to the I Love U Guys Foundation, which was set up in the wake of a fatal 2006 shooting at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey. The last donation was made at 11:59 p.m. to the Boulder County AIDS Project.

Original item: At midnight, the clock will start ticking on Colorado Gives Day, a 24-hour online charity extravaganza. Powered by the Arvada-based Community First Foundation, Colorado Gives Day will attempt to raise $1 million for 536 local nonprofits.

The Community First Foundation's online donation website, GivingFirst.org, has been around since 2007. There, anyone can make an online donation to hundreds of Colorado nonprofits -- and the Community First Foundation picks up the credit card transaction fees, ensuring 100 percent of the money goes to the nonprofit.

"Community First has taken the position that they believe the future of philanthropy is online," says spokeswoman Jane McGillem. GivingFirst.org allows nonprofits who don't have the resources to set up their own online giving tools to do so, she says.

Colorado Gives Day is a way to introduce more people (hopefully, very charitable people!) to GivingFirst.org and, Galloway says, "to call attention to the needs of the nonprofit sector, since it has been struggling for the last couple of years.

"Having it at this time of year, you can tap into people's holiday spirit," she adds.

The foundation has been hyping Colorado Gives Day via social media, as well as traditional television and radio commercials. The participating nonprofits have also sent e-mails to their supporters, asking them to donate tomorrow.

"The goal is one million dollars," McGillem says. "We project we will exceed that."

But not without a lot of help!

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