MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thursday will be Give to the Max Day in Minnesota.

Since 2009, Minnesota charities have raised $50 million through the GiveMN.org website.

For the first time this year, public schools can participate. We visited one in south Minneapolis school — Kenny Elementary — to see how it will use the money.

The music program at Kenny is a big hit, according to 5th grader Sofiya Briduene.

“I feel like [in] music you can sort of express yourself,” she said.

But music comes at a cost.

Bill Gibbs, the school’s principal, said when the school gets its budget each year, it has to figure out if it can still do band.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

With academic subjects like reading, writing, and arithmetic taking priority, the school is turning to the Internet to support its supplemental programs. That’s where Give to the Max Day can help.

“Give to the Max is easy,” said Lynn Barnhart, a parent of a Kenny student. “We do all our communication via email, and our website and social media.”

Now, friends and family can simply click on GiveMN to donate — a far cry from old school fundraisers, like selling wrapping paper.

“Everybody hated [the wrapping paper],” Gibbs said. “They all bought it, and every year they’d say: We have enough wrapping paper from three years ago. But they still bought it, because that was the big fundraiser for the year.”

Kenny is trying to raise $5,000. It is trying to avoid fees for band, field trips, and after school academic programs. The school also has its eyes on a special prize.

“Give to the Max will give special $1,000 bonuses to schools every hour. So if we have parents put money in, we are eligible to get a special $1,000 golden ticket possibly,” Barnhart said.

So far 220 Minnesota public schools have registered to participate in Give to the Max Day. Private and charter schools had always been eligible, along with most other nonprofits.

If you want to give to a school on Thursday just go online to GiveMN.org. You can search your favorite cause on the top right corner of the page.

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