It’s one of Michigan’s poorest per-capita income counties with a relatively small and aged population base that has more interest in agricultural magazines than corporate financial ledgers. But when it comes to sharing an amazing wealth of compassion, ideas and philanthropic dollars to help their neighbors and friends, residents there know there’s no place quite like Mecosta County, Michigan.
One only has to check out the incredible work of the Mecosta County Community Foundation (MCFF) and its highly successful, annual Match Day fundraising effort to see why this part of the state is becoming known as “The Heart of Michigan.”
Robyn Stratton, MCCF’s administrative executive, says the foundation in 2010 was looking for a new way to raise funds for their myriad nonprofits and endowment funds.
“We came up with the idea for a Match Day,” says Stratton. “During the initial two years (2010 and 2011) corporate and individual donors provided us $50,000 (each year) as match money where on a certain day representatives from our area nonprofit organizations would come in, set up tables with information explaining what they do and people who wanted to donate to those causes could contribute to them.
“For that one day, we would match a portion of those donations, up to $50,000, and we got an amazing response,” she adds. “Our first year in 2010 we raised $252,000. The following year, in 2011, we generated an incredible $425,000.”
A tweak to this one-day giving extravaganza in 2012 saw donors providing a total of $50,000 for the match pool, with $25,000 designated for nonprofits and $25,000 for endowment funds.
Cash prizes totaling $5,000 also were added as an incentive to go to the top three organizations and the top three endowment funds receiving the most donations.
The results? MCCF’s 2012 day-long Match Day held in November saw 3,926 individual donors – children and adults - walk through the door, searching out and donating to their favorite nonprofits. When it was all over, the final tally totaled a record $638,423.80.
“This just goes to show you what can be done even in a small county when people care about each other and open their hearts and wallets so we can help those in need,” says Stratton.