By PETE DELEA
Daily News-Record 4/22/21
Heading into Wednesday’s Great Community Give, Amanda Bomfim had her eyes set at $1 million.
Little did she know, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community would shatter that goal by lunchtime. By the end of the day, the fundraiser received more than the last three years combined.
“It’s a testament to the community,” said Bomfim, program officer for The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg- Rockingham and leader of the fundraiser since its inception three years ago. “They’ve once again blown me away by their generosity.”
The fundraiser ran from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. During that span and including preliminary fundraising, 7,111 donors contributed $1,772,878 to 116 nonprofit organizations.
In its first year in 2018, the fundraiser collected $275,000, compared to its initial goal of $70,000. In 2019, it hauled in roughly $536,000 — $206,300 over the initial goal — and last year, $804,000 was raised compared to the $600,000 goal.
Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center received the most donations, with $140,435. In second place, Blue Ridge Christian School received $113,124, and in third place, the Explore More Discovery Museum hauled in $86,215.
For the newly formed Blue Ridge Free Clinic, Wednesday’s fundraiser was sort of an experiment.
The clinic, which formed after the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic shuttered four months ago, opened its doors April 12.
Ted Sudol, the clinic board’s secretary, said he was thrilled when he looked at the fundraiser’s website shortly after the kickoff at 6:30 a.m.
By then, someone had already made an anonymous donation for $20,000.
At the end of the day, the clinic raised $78,191.
“There’s been an outpouring of people wanting to donate and volunteer,” Sudol said. “We’re overwhelmed by the positive support.”
Since opening, the clinic has seen about 70 patients. About 40, he said, will be regular patients, and the remaining were referred to other providers for more specialized care.
He said watching the totals rise — not just for his organization but for everyone’s — was staggering.
“It’s an exciting example of people coming together,” he said.
Marie Bradley, administrative director of the Family Resource Center, said her organization uses money from the Great Community Give to help provide scholarships for those seeking mental health therapy.
Since the COVID- 19 pandemic started, Bradley said, the nonprofit has seen an increase of children and seniors suffering from anxiety and depression.
On Wednesday, the center raised $9,525.
“It’s crucial,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s a matter of life and death.”
Finishing in the Top 10 once again this year, the Boys and Girls Clubs
of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County racked up $60,938.
Sandra Quigg, who has been director of the organization for a little over a year, said she was amazed at how much the community donated.
“My first thought was, ‘Wow,’” she said. “It makes me feel like the community understands the value of the services we provide.”
She said the money couldn’t come at a better time.
She said the funding raised Wednesday will support youth scholarships for before- and after-school programs and summer programs.
“Our clubs not only provide a safe place for children to go while their parents work, but we also provide fun, educational activities for them while they’re at the clubs,” Quigg said.