Erie Gives raises almost $3 million for nonprofits

Erin McGarrity, Contributing Writer

Mercyhurst benefited from the fifth annual Erie Gives Day on Tuesday, Aug. 11th, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Erie Gives Day provides members of the community the opportunity to donate money to various nonprofit organizations throughout Erie. This event, hosted by the Erie Community Foundation and the Nonprofit Partnership, gives people the chance to directly and easily contribute to meaningful causes through means other than physical involvement.
In the 12-hour time frame this year, local nonprofits earned $2,821,929. Mercyhurst was responsible for raising $6,766 of that total.
Several Erie companies, including Erie Insurance, Presque Isle Downs & Casino, GE Transportation, Eriez Magnetics, The Erie Community Foundation, matched each donation received.
This is the third year that Mercyhurst has participated in Erie Gives Day. The bulk of the donations during this event came from personal donors from Mercyhurst, which was a pleasant surprise, according to Monsignor David Rubino, vice president of external affairs.
“In these economically challenging times, everyone is working hard just to stay afloat. We were surprised to see so many personal donors contributing despite their own financial troubles,” Rubino said.
Last school year, Mercyhurst launched its own variation of Erie Gives Day called Mercyhurst Gives. Over the course of that campaign, which lasted one day, the school community raised nearly $60,000, simply as a result of emails and phone calls to alumni and friends.
“The results of Mercyhurst Gives show in a big way just how caring our community really is,” said Rubino. “With Erie Gives, though, there’s that added layer of concern for not wanting to take money from people who might really need it. It becomes a question of fairness, and we don’t want to be selfish here. It’s all about the nonprofits.”
Erin Fessler, vice president of communications at the Erie Community Foundation, holds Erie Gives Day particularly close to her heart. She has been working on the event since it launched in 2011.
“Erie Gives is a real awareness-builder for the foundation and a great introduction to philanthropy to many people. With $25, anyone can become a philanthropist for the day. You don’t need thousands of dollars,” Fessler said.
Rubino largely credits both current and former students and their families with the immense success of both Erie Gives Day and Mercyhurst Gives.
“We were wondering how people would respond, and, not surprisingly, this community continues to respond exquisitely to Erie Gives,” Rubino said.