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Give More 24 passes million-dollar mark in day of philanthropy

BATTLE GROUND — North County Community Food Bank dreams of having a bigger, better building, and some goats are helping make it happen.

How? Well, goats don’t really have any construction skills, but they were a cute diversion Thursday during Give More 24!, an annual day of charitable giving. The food bank’s executive director, Liz Cerveny, asked Mini Mosaic Farm to bring a few of its Nigerian dwarf goats to Battle Ground’s Central Park for a yoga class to raise money for the future facility.

Goat yoga is pretty self explanatory; do yoga among goats. Whisper, Maya and Serenade rambled about a pen, occasionally walking under people doing downward-facing dog pose. Maya tried to eat a piece of paper where instructor Krissy Becker had written down her yoga sequence, and then moved onto chewing her pink yoga mat.

“Reach and grab a goat,” Becker told the class as they lunged from side to side. “That’s part of the balance — balancing around the goats.”

Give More 24! was full of activities, competitions, games and gimmicks to bring attention and dollars to nonprofits in Southwest Washington.

By 5 p.m. Thursday, $1.09 million had been raised by more than 2,900 individual donors. Seton Catholic College Prep had raised the most money and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School attracted the most donors.

The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, the host and marketing power behind the 24-hour giving spree, had set a goal of $1.6 million from 4,200 donors. Between 2014 and 2018, Give More 24! raised a cumulative $4.4 million for local charities.

“We’ve participated each year and watched it grow,” Cerveny said. “It seems to just build on itself each and every year.”

Over the last few years, private donors gave $325,000 to help buy or build a new food bank, she said. North County Community Food Bank is one of the few social service agencies in Battle Ground, serving between 650 and 700 people every month. In addition to running a food pantry, it offers classes to help clients build budgeting, nutrition and job training skills.

“Those are the types of classes that if we could bring inhouse we could have more consistently,” said Cerveny, who is also La Center’s mayor pro tem. “It becomes imperative that we’re better equipped to provide the services our clients need.”

Currently, the food bank can’t hold classes in its 1,600-square-foot facility on Northeast Third Avenue and rents other spaces around town. The small space also lacks private meeting rooms. Besides goat yoga, the nonprofit held a pancake breakfast and an open house Thursday to draw attention to its fundraising.

The minimum donation for Give More 24! was $5, and people could make as many different donations to as many different charities as they wanted. Charitable giving was done on the Give More 24! website and could be tallied in real time. That meant charities could strategize around matching funds or specific timed prizes. The food bank, for instance, was trying to raise $69,800 in order to double that amount with matching funds.

Dozens of people (and costumed characters) kicked off Give More 24! in Vancouver’s Esther Short Park where there were doughnuts, dance competitions and appearances from local Miss America contestants.

“$1.6 million in one day? How is that possible? So impressive!” Sherri McMillan said as she led the crowd in a dance by the park’s bell tower.

Last year, Give More 24! reached its goal of $1.3 million by 9 p.m.

Journey Theater sang and danced “We’re All in This Together” from “High School Musical,” a seemingly fitting song choice for a day aimed at people joining together to benefit nonprofits.

“We usually do one community show, and we’re hoping to do two next year,” said Bethany Larson, founder and area director of Journey Theater.

The group’s goal Thursday was to raise $10,000.

The Parks Foundation of Clark County celebrated its 20th anniversary in Esther Short Park with some dancing, cake and swinging on the playground swing set.

Executive Director Dellan Redjou said money raised during Give More 24! will go toward park grants. She received about $150,000 in grant applications this year, including requests for playgrounds at a couple of county parks and requests from the skate and bike parks on the east side of town.

The 170 nonprofits participating in Give More 24! represented causes such as animal welfare, arts and culture, education, environment, health, housing, hunger, religion, social justice and veterans.

The Columbian is a media sponsor of Give More 24!.


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