Minnesota residents donated $16.3 million to charities this week as part of National Philanthropy Day, topping the tallies from about 30 other cities and states that also sponsor one-day giving sprees.
Minnesota's event was coordinated by GiveMN, which says more than 107,000 donations were made to nearly 5,400 organizations, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://bit.ly/ZKxH8G ).
"''What we experienced ... was a movement," Dana Nelson, executive director of GiveMN, said Friday.
The top recipient was Cretin-Derham Hall, a Catholic high school in St. Paul that plans to apply the $377,000 it raised toward financial aid. Frank Miley, the school's development director, said officials had contacted about 7,000 potential donors, and a separate group pledged to match every dollar raised.
Toward the end of the fundraising night, one alumnus donated $50,000 that helped the school lock down the top fundraising spot.
"We have a very loyal and generous donor base, and they are very competitive," Miley said.
The day brought a number of touching stories, including one that developed after a benefactor offered to make $1,000 donations to the Animal Humane Society in the names of 25 people randomly selected by the group. One woman who was chosen wrote an emotional email to Humane Society officials saying how touched she was by the gesture, especially because she was struggling financially and wanted to donate more.
"Her e-mail brought tears to your eyes," Dixon said.
Dozens of cities and states also participated in the daylong fundraising challenge. In second place behind Minnesota was the Dallas, Texas, area, which brought in $14.4 million, followed by Colorado with $12 million. Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh each raised about $8.7 million.
"Minnesota is far ahead of everyone else," said Lesley Mansford of Razoo, an online donation platform that hosts at least 20 donation days. "I'm in awe."