Donors to Cherry Street Youth Center came through in December to exceed fundraising goals.
The effort brought in $28,000 more than fundraising in 2019, after falling behind the first two months.
“It was crazy,” Executive Director Jennifer Shields said. “It was quite the nail-biter for me.”
The drive finished December with $92,000 plus a $50,000 matching grant. Shields said checks are still trickling in, and those that are written for December will still count as deductions on 2020 taxes.
The drive provided enough for a half year of programming.
“That’s pretty great to have half a year,” Shields said.
Each year, the Cherry Street Youth Center tries to raise $50,000 to meet a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. The drive starts Oct. 1 and usually ends Christmas Day.
This year, the usual matching donor notified Shields in September it was not in a position to make the grant. Shields put out an appeal, and lined up a new anonymous donor within a month to make the match. The new donor also allowed the drive to continue until the last day of December.
During 2019, the center collected $12,000 in October and about the same in November for a total drive of $64,000. But Shields said this year only brought $4,500 by the end of October and $6,000 during November.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shields said she was not able to check the mail as frequently as normal, but in December the center received $48,000 from individuals, including one in Minnesota who continues to support the center.
It also received $6,000 from churches. Groups in Stark and Iola sent donations, and businesses contributed $9,000.