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Give Big Gallatin Valley knocks fundraising goal out of the park

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Gallatin County demonstrated once more what a generous community it can be during the third annual Give Big Gallatin Valley fundraising event, a 24-hour giving spree dedicated to supporting local nonprofits that ended at 6 p.m. May 5.

The total raised surpassed $698,000, well beyond the organization’s $500,000 goal.

“We were absolutely humbled and blown away that we pretty significantly passed that goal as a community,” said BACF executive director Bridget Wilkinson.

 More than 3,600 people participated in the giving, primarily through online donations—and there were no website glitches as with last year when the national online donation platform was overloaded by high traffic and crashed within hours of the website launch.

A total of 168 nonprofits, dedicated to everything from community theatre and ballet programs to victim advocacy groups and environmental conservation, participated.

Big Sky-based nonprofits that partook included Morningstar Learning Center, Big Sky Ski Education Foundation, Women in Action, Big Sky Discovery Academy, Big Sky Community Organization, Allie’s Friends Foundation, Jack Creek Preserve Foundation, Gallatin River Task Force, Arts Council of Big Sky and Big Sky Weed Committee.

Of those, Gallatin River Task Force and Big Sky Discovery Academy raised the most money with $8,835 and $4,310, respectively. The top fundraiser county-wide was Eagle Mount.

“There was a great coalition of Big Sky organizations that really worked together to raise initiatives of their organizations,” Wilkinson said. “It was really fun to see the energy and momentum build within the Big Sky community.”

Giving days also happened in Missoula, Helena, Billings and Anaconda, and Wilkinson said there was also a statewide giving site for interested Montana organizations not located in one of those communities. “Together we all participated to raise $1 million for Montana,” she said.

Wilkinson said this year they saw greater participation from not only donors (2016 fundraising totals topped $390,000), but nonprofits, too. There were 132 nonprofits in Give Big Gallatin Valley in 2016, and this year’s nonprofit participation marked a 27 percent increase.

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