By Caroline Cummings

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are raising millions for thousands of organizations supporting good causes in our community on Thursday, and nonprofits say that generosity is crucial to their operations as they grapple with higher costs and fewer staff.

Give To The Max Day, the 13th annual fundraising event organized by GiveMn, is the crucial funding source for 40% of the state’s nonprofits, said executive director of GiveMN Jake Blumberg.

“Today can make or break more than one in three organizations next year so giving early, giving often, and digging as deep as we can, can make all of the difference for our neighbors and community,” Blumberg said.

The pandemic and its impact has triggered a greater need for services, but the demand comes as the sector lost 30,000 workers and volunteers are harder to come by, said Kari Aanestad, associate director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

“We’re unfortunately not immune from the effects of the ‘Great Resignation,’” she said in an email.

She noted that many nonprofits received one-time special COVID-19 relief funding to make ends meet, but there guarantee of that funding going forward.

Blumberg described needs “not seen since the Great Depression,” and said nonprofits are having to do more with less resources. Inflation driving up the cost for goods is also hitting organizations like it does family budgets.

“More families are needing help and consumer prices are going up. That means prices go up for us. So we need to community to come out in a big way today,” said Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland.

For Alight, which works with refugees around the world, the pandemic has impacted its ability to serve those communities—since health care and vaccines aren’t readily available in places where they work, said Alissa Jordan, the global activations lead for the nonprofit.

The group collected new and gently used winter weather gear for newly resettled Afghan refugees in Minnesota at a clothing drive Thursday. It’s also taking online donations, which will be matched by a family up to $63,000.

“We want to be a part of welcoming them and getting those much needed supplies,” Jordan said. “Winter is already here and that warm winter clothing gear is so needed.”

As of late afternoon Thursday, the Give to The Max effort raised nearly $25 million for thousands of organizations. You can continue to give until midnight at this link.

Caroline Cummings