Metro-East News

Give STL Day raises more than $69K for St. Clair, Madison county non-profits

When Diane Sonneman started her day on Tuesday, she saw there had been $1,200 already donated to the Griffin Center, where she serves as director.

She said she was able to send thank you emails to people who donated after seeing their contributions.

“It lets people know in real time how much you appreciate what they’re doing for you,” Sonneman said.

By the end of the Tuesday, the East St. Louis center received a total of $2,760 through Give STL Day.

The second annual Give STL Day raised more than $69,000 for St. Clair and Madison County charities and non-profits.

Among the organizations to receive money were Mascoutah-based Abundant Living For All Foundation, the Illinois Center for Autism in Fairview Heights, and Gateway Pet Guardians, which helps stray animals in East St. Louis.

In all, the 24-hour Give STL online fundraising drive brought in about $2 million, from about 13,600 unique online donors.

Money raised from the drive goes straight to the organizations, said Amelia Bond, the president and CEO of the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation.

Bond said this type of fundraising doesn’t cost that much and is highly effective for non-profits.

“(It) allows them to do what they do best, which is their mission and promoting their cause,” Bond said.

Organizations who use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to promote the campaign did well during the one-day online fundraiser, she said.

“They can have a direct impact on the dollars raised,” Bond said of social media sites.

The foundation even held sessions in the fall on using social media.

She said the community foundation even had periods during the day Tuesday where it matched donations.

The event helped give smaller organizations public exposure, Bond said.

“All boats rise in an event like this,” she said.

Five of the 20 donors who gave to the Griffin Center were new donors, Sonneman said.

Money from Give STL Day will help pay for summer day camps in East St. Louis. It costs about $16,000 a week to run the camps, Sonneman said.

Griffin Center, which offers free programs to children living in East St. Louis public housing, does accept donations year round and reaches out to donors in the spring and Christmas season to fund its $500,000 budget.

“Every little bit helps,” Sonneman said.

Last year the Griffin Center participated in Give STL Day and raised $2,300, but $1,000 came from internal matches.

“One of my hopes is it would give more awareness to what we do,” Sonneman said.

Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville sent out an email to its alumni and donor base promoting Give STL Day. Along with promotion of its annual fund appeal, the school raised about $6,000 on Tuesday.

The school participated after it was encouraged by some parents and alumni. Althoff promoted the event on its Facebook page.

The $4,700 raised from Give STL campaign will go toward scholarships for students in the Class of 2019.

“We definitely appreciate being part of the St. Louis region,” said Jenn Lyke, the school’s development director. “We’re blessed to live in a generous community.”

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Contact reporter Joseph Bustos at or 618-239-2451. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeBReporter.