Representatives from 25 area organizations and nonprofits enjoyed a record “Giving Tuesday” at the Flinthills Mall, receiving a combined $286,300.42 on behalf of the Emporia Community Foundation.

The amount included money raised from donors, $60,000 in matching funds and more than $5,000 in sponsored prize grant support. Partners included Clint Bowyer’s 79 Fund, the Hopkins, Reeble and Trusler Foundations, the Preston Family Trust and the WS & EC Jones Testamentary Trust, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee. Combined with past donations, the six-year Match Day total has now eclipsed the $1 million mark, with $1,100,720 going to 33 separate entities since 2014.

“We’re excited about what [this money] is going to be doing for these groups,” Emporia Community Foundation Executive Director Becky Nurnberg said. “This is such an amazing, amazing day that we have … A lot of times when you apply for a grant, it can’t be used for operational money. This money can be. You can use it for whatever you want to use it for.”

Thanks to record contributions, eight organizations — the Arvonia Historic Preservation Society, the Chase County Historical Society and Museum, Food for Students, Friends of the Emporia Animal Shelter, Main Street Mommas, the NLC Youth Association, Pioneer Bluffs and Team Schnak — received donations of more than $15,000.

“Believe it or not, there are lots of kids in Emporia schools that get nervous and scared about going home on Fridays because they’re not going to have very much to eat at home throughout the weekend ...” said Food for Students co-Coordinator Ashley Walker after learning the program brought in $17,682.32. “Our budget every year is about $35,000 - $40,000. This money will help us get through this year and provide about 1,700 bags of food for Emporia kids. On behalf of those kids, I just want to say ‘thank you’ to the Emporia Community Foundation.”

Team Schnak was the biggest benefactor, walking away with more than $33,000 to be used in the organization’s goal of raising awareness for juvenile and Type 1 diabetes. Founder Kent Schnakenberg said he was completely overwhelmed to see the outpouring of support, thanking everybody involved through a bout of tears.

“It’s very important to [spread awareness], because this disease is still very misunderstood,” Schnakenberg said. “I’m glad we found this passion to not only help people like my niece, but the 2 million other people in this world that live with Type 1 diabetes … To everyone in this room today, you need to realize what you’re doing through your organizations for people around these seven counties — and really people all over the world — is that you’re giving them hope. There’s really nothing more important than hope, because everybody needs some of that.”

Nurnberg concluded the event by thanking the individual donors, volunteers and organizations for expressing their generosity in such a way to make positive impacts in their respective communities. She admitted to being impressed each year with the continually-growing support.

“When you do something like this, you kind of have a goal in your mind,” Nurnberg said. “I was hoping for at least $250,000 this year. We just kept watching the numbers add up and keep adding up. Seeing the $286,000 made us so excited, and it’s all due to the hard work of everyone here. It will benefit the whole community.”

For more information about the ECF, visit www.emporiacf.org or call 342-9304.

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