BEATRICE – Big Give Gage…the annual 24-hour online donation drive for numerous nonprofit causes in Gage County, with matching donations, came to a grand total of $384,043 this year.

"It's just a good feeling...every minute, every hour, all the sleepless nights were all worth it for this specific day. It's been really rewarding."
This was the first year leading the drive, for Big Give Gage Co-Coordinator Shelby Watson…the Senior Executive of the Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation. The midnight-to-midnight drive helped fund 72 nonprofit groups in Gage County.

"There's just so much excitement around it...and the list of the nonprofits we have is very impressive. It shows the great things going on here in Gage County, when we get people together and celebrate just encourages more giving."

It is a record amount for the online drive. Last year’s project brought in about $330,000. This year was not the easiest for donors, with higher inflation squeezing budgets. Yet, Watson says she’s not surprised people still come forward to support things they believe in…within a state that ranks high for the generosity of its residents.

"We still have that feeling of cameraderie, where everyone wants to give where they live and really help our community stay strong. Through inflation, there are always those hard times and things that get challenging, but I think if anything, that came from the last few years and the pandemic that we went made people more grateful for the things that they had, and the ability to contribute to those organizations that are helping."

There was a total of 1,913 donations this year. The top five organizations were the Wymore-Blue Springs Area Fund, with 147….the Adult and Teen Challenge Sheepgate Women’s center, with 96….the Hope Crisis Center with 83…..Beatrice Community Food Pantry with 74 and the Beatrice Humane Society with 73.

For total money donations, the top five nonprofits were Wymore-Blue Springs Area Fund with $30,875…Adult and Teen Challenge, with $30,860…Food for Hope, $26,325.  Number four was the Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation, $26,270….and number five, Beatrice Community Food Pantry, $17,150.