Record-breaking year for Go Big Give; nonprofits in four counties to benefit

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This year’s Go Big Give brought in $1,459,596, the highest number ever achieved in the nine-year history of the philanthropic effort.

The total beats the previous record, set last year, of $1,330,332. It was also the fourth year in a row that Go Big Give surpassed the $1 million mark.

This year’s 24-hour online giving event on Thursday benefited from 5,261 donations. The money raised will go to 151 nonprofit organizations in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick counties.

Go Big Give is coordinated by Heartland United Way and the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation. The goal of the event is to grow philanthropy.

The first Go Big Give in 2014 raised $251,984, with a total of 1,339 donations and 66 nonprofits participating.

“Collectively, over nine years, Go Big Give has raised a total of $5,961,399 plus this year $1,459,596 which has impacted over 220 nonprofit organizations in the four-county area,” a news release reported. “Sponsors have contributed over $830,182 in match pool funds and incentives.”

Sponsors provided more than $137,750 in match pool funds and incentive prizes this year. The lead sponsors were Hornady, Eihusen Foundation, Associated Staffing, Greater Grand Island Community Foundation and Heartland United Way, along with the Bud & Gloria Wolbach Foundation and JBS.

Donations for the nonprofit organizations grew with the match pool funds and friendly competitions for incentive prizes.

Among the nonprofits, the leaderboard was topped by the Edgerton Explorit Center in Aurora, which had 118 donations totaling $110,222. It was followed in second place by the New Hope Christian School Building Fund, which had 140 donations totaling $107,193.

The rest of the top 10 consisted of Nebraska Christian Schools Foundation, 86 donations totaling $100,478; Grand Island Central Catholic Development Foundation, 167 donations totaling $87,665; Cairo Community Foundation, 72 donations totaling $53,543; Royal Family KIDS Camp of Grand Island and York, 346 donations totaling $40,237; Fighter Jett, 154 donations totaling $33,277; Wood River Community Centennial Foundation, 138 donations totaling $32,364; Stuhr Museum Foundation, 145 donations totaling $28,881, and Prairie Plains Resource Institute, 33 donations totaling $28,397.

Prize winners awarded to date are listed online at under “Leaderboards.”

Additional prizes will be awarded when totals are finalized.

Additional goals for the one day giving event were to help increase the visibility for local organizations; increase use of social media; attract new donors through the use of an online giving platform; and to educate and engage more people to volunteer or be involved in supporting nonprofits year-round.

“The Heartland United Way and Greater Grand Island Community Foundation wish to express their deep gratitude to the generous sponsors and donors for their incredible support for Go Big GIVE and the 151 participating nonprofit organizations,” the news release continued. “Thank you for a goal-breaking day of giving!”