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Lancaster's Extraordinary Give to launch into sixth year FridayEvent includes opportunities to donate online or in-person to 464 nonprofits

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The Griest building in Lancaster City was bathed in colorful lights during the 2016 Extraordinary Give, a 24-hour fundraising event that brought in $7.2 million for Lancaster County nonprofits.
The Griest building in Lancaster City was bathed in colorful lights during the 2016 Extraordinary Give, a 24-hour fundraising event that brought in $7.2 million for Lancaster County nonprofits. - (Photo / )

When 427 nonprofits decided to take part in the 2016 Extraordinary Give, event organizers from the Lancaster County Community Foundation thought they had finally reached just about every charity in the region.

Then they started planning for this year. The number jumped to 464.

The 2017 Extraordinary Give kicks off at midnight tonight and runs until 11:59 p.m. Friday. Donors can give to one or more of the 464 organizations online or at in-person gatherings throughout the day, with event sponsors matching portions of the donations through an at least $500,000 stretch pool. Organizations will be selected for additional prizes throughout the day.

The Lancaster County Community Foundation launched the first Extraordinary Give in 2012 with hopes of showcasing work by nonprofits serving the Lancaster region and amplifying giving to those groups with help from local sponsors, said Tracy Cutler, the foundation's executive vice president.

The first Give brought in $1.67 million for 192 nonprofits. The event has grown each year since then, raising $7.1 million in 2016. 

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While donors can contribute online from home, each year's Give has also included community events.

Annual staples now include the ExtraGive Fest, a celebration with live music at the Lancaster Marriott and Convention Center, and the GiveMobile, a 16-foot box truck outfitted with lights, an interactive photo booth and computer stations that makes stops throughout the county over the course of the day.

Tomorrow's Give will also feature two new additions on the live interaction front.

The first is the Give Mo'Tuk, a small electronic vehicle that will travel to locations throughout Lancaster City to raise awareness for the Give through a partnership with Tuktuk Lancaster.

The second is Family Give Fest, an event preceding the ExtraGive Fest targeted toward elementary-aged children and their families. The festival will include interactive learning stations, on-site ExtraGive T-shirt printing from local T-shirt designer Foxduck, a family photo station from PhotOle Photography, live music and a free, interactive VR experience from Greenfish Labs.

To participate
  • Donors can give online between midnight and 11:59 p.m. Friday at extragive.org.
  • Family Give Fest runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Lancaster Marriott and Lancaster County Convention Center, 25 S. Queen St., Lancaster.
  • Extra Give Fest will take place immediately after the family festival, running from 6 p.m. to midnight.
  • The GiveMobile will roll through the county from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., starting at Grand Central Bagel in East Hempfield Township and ending at Bulls Head Public House in Lititz. A full list of scheduled stops is available on the Give's website.
  • Give Mo'Tuk will make stops throughout the city from 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. That schedule is also available on the Give's website.

This year's give also features a new presenting sponsor: the S. Dale High Family Foundation. Longtime event partner Rodgers & Associates is also continuing as a presenting sponsor, and a number of local businesses are providing other levels of sponsorship.

The Lancaster County Community Foundation provides additional financial support to the stretch pool, as well as the staff time needed to organize the event. The foundation does not and has never taken a single penny from the event, Cutler said, and will contribute more than $200,000 to participating nonprofits this year.

With five successful events behind them, the foundation's leaders have learned a thing or two about how to rally the community into opening their wallets for local causes. They hope to pass on some of this information to a group in York County that is looking to start its own countywide giving event this spring.

Cutler's advice to them or anyone else looking to organize an extraordinary event: Stay on-mission, set specific goals and don't underestimate the value of live gatherings, even when most of the giving happens online.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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