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Giving Tuesday an overwhelming success in the UP

The Upper Peninsula may be a small, rural area, but that doesn’t mean its residents can’t make a huge difference. That was proven on Giving Tuesday, when Yoopers contributed more than $1 million Dec. 3.

Through nearly 3,200 transactions based in the Upper Peninsula, about $1.04 million was donated by those with U.P. zipcodes on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, according to data from Grow & Lead: Community and Youth Development in partnership with GivingTuesday.

With the Upper Peninsula’s population estimated at about 311,000 people, that’s nearly $3.35 donated per Yooper, more than double the average donation per person nationwide, which was about $1.56 with roughly $511 million donated nationally.

The amount raised also exceeded the goal of the Give906 campaign organized by Grow & Lead, which had aimed to see $906,000 in Upper Peninsula donations on Giving Tuesday, organizers said.

Organizers credit growing awareness about Giving Tuesday for the success of this year’s campaign, which raised more than double what it did in 2018, its inaugural year.

“Giving Tuesday has truly caught on as a global movement. With tools like Facebook Fundraising, GoFundMe and other internet-based initiatives, it’s made it possible for people to give small amounts and see the impact it has on the overall total,” Victoria Leonhardt, an associate at Grow & Lead Community and Youth Development, said in an email. “The media has been so helpful in educating people on giving and sharing inspiring stories that encourage and motivate participation in Giving Tuesday.”

Donors made a big difference for many Upper Peninsula nonprofits, organizers said in a press release, as the campaign ended with many organizations receiving thousands to support their missions.

A few examples include Portage Health Foundation, which raised $217,781.02 for 15 organizations in the Copper Country and matched $100,000, bringing its campaign total to $317,718.02; Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, which raised $4,875 for cabin renovations, exceeding the goal of $4,000; Lake Superior Theatre, which raised $2,305 that was matched by an anonymous donor, bring it to a total of $4,610; the 906 Adventure Team raised $6,000 to support its programs in Delta, Gogebic and Marquette counties; and the YMCA of Marquette County raised enough funds to provide free swim lessons to 46 youth.

In this season of giving, it makes us very proud to see our fellow Yoopers have gone way above and beyond. Although the holidays are a time of joy and merriment, it can also be a very stressful time. With their contributions, U.P. residents have really helped to keep that stress level down and make sure everyone has an enjoyable holiday season.

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