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Giving Tuesday Provides Non-Profit Support Opportunities Today

Today is Giving Tuesday, devoted to supporting organizations that support our communities.

The holiday was first observed in 2012 at the 92nd Street Y community center in New York City. It was conceived as a response to the heavy spending on gifts and personal items at the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Locally, the Portage Health Foundation is offering $200,000 to match donations received by 26 nonprofits that serve Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon Counties. 

The PHF began taking donations early this month, and reported that $213,887 had already been raised by yesterday morning. That pushes the total raised through the PHF campaign to more than $2 million since the program began five years ago. Mike Babcock from the PHF says that most of that money was produced locally…

Eighty percent of the donations we get are actually coming from the Copper Country, so there are people in Houghton, Baraga, Keweenaw, Ontonagon Counties that are making those donations. So it’s not just money coming from all over the place, it’s our community supporting these nonprofits.

This year’s effort includes five new participants – Bootjack Fire and Rescue Foundation, Camp Josh, the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association, the Ripple Recovery Residence operated by the Great Lake Recovery Centers Foundation, and unitē Mental Health and Wellness.

Groups returning to this year’s campaign include the Swedetown Trails Club, Superior Search and Rescue, Simple Kindness for Youth, the Ontonagon County Cancer Association, Omega House, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Keweenaw Random Acts of Community Kindness, the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, the Keweenaw Family Resource Center, the Friends of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park, Dial Help, the Dan Schmitt Gift of Music Fund, Copper Country Senior Meals, the Copper Harbor Trails Club, Copper Country Habitat for Humanity, the Copper Country Angel Mission, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Western UP and U.P. Kids, the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home, the Baraga County Shelter Home, Ahmeek Village Volunteer Fire and Rescue, and 31 Backpacks.

Mike Lutz from Omega House says the success of Giving Tuesday has reshaped their fundraising effort…

We used to be able to figure, when we were doing our budgeting, that 30 percent of our annual donations would come in the last six weeks of the year. But, since Giving Tuesday as come in, and with Portage Health Foundation’s support and help, we receive closer to 45, almost 50 percent, of our annual donations at the end of the year.

Donations to any of the organizations can be made today at the Portage Health Foundation website. Donations may also be dropped off at the Portage Health Foundation office in downtown Hancock, or mailed to 400 Quincy St; 5th Floor; Hancock, MI 49930. Mailed donations must be postmarked no later than today. Checks must be written out to PHF, with the nonprofit(s) designated.

Other fundraising activities have also been added to the effort. Six local restaurants are participating in Dining for Donations. Gino’s in Hancock, the Michigan House Café in Calumet, The Copper Range Depot in Houghton, Skippers Bar and Grill in L’Anse, and Syl’s Café and The Squeeze on Main in Ontonagon are contributing a portion of today’s proceeds.

Some schools within Houghton and Baraga counties will be participating in penny wars, with prizes for the classes that raise the most money.

Finlandia University runs its own Giving Tuesday campaign, with proceeds supporting scholarships. Find out more and donate here.

The Superior Health Foundation is also mounting a Giving Tuesday effort, asking for donations for the D.J.Jacobetti Home for Veterans and the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center. Support that campaign here.

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