These gifts can keep on giving

Area groups, public schools participate in ‘Give to the Max Day’ Thursday

Numerous St. Croix Valley-area organizations will participate in the fourth annual “Give to the Max Day” event in Minnesota Thursday.

Organizations such as Youth Service Bureau, FamilyMeans, the Washington County Historical Society, as well as area PTAs and public schools are participating in this online-giving event designed to raise millions of dollars for thousands of non-profits in Minnesota.

“It’s a big broad goal, but we hope to meet it,” said Dana Nelson, executive director of, who is a part of the organization behind the 24-hour day of giving.

“This is the fourth annual event and each year there’s always an excitement and groundswell of non-profits that really own this event,” Nelson said. “We have a wall in our office of all the non-profits promoting “Give to the Max Day” and all the fun things that they’re putting together. It’s really exciting and in just three years and four events it’s become almost like a holiday for non-profits.”

Allissa Obler of YSB shares Nelson’s excitement.

“I think it’s a fantastic way for people throughout Minnesota to show their support of organizations in their community that they care about and it’s a great way to highlight organizations on one day all together,” Obler said. “It’s a pretty cool thing.”

YSB has participated in Give to the Max Day before, and they hope to increase their earnings this year with a dollar-for-dollar match up to $2,000 from their board of directors. Money raised will go in YSB’s general operating fund and serve youth in the community.

Nelson said that this is the first year that public schools can participate in the event and Afton-Lakeland Elementary School has decided to join the campaign.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Afton-Lakeland PTA member Rachel Kaul. “It’s great that they’ve opened it up to public schools and it’s a great way to get more public support.”

With budget cuts, many school officials must think of creative ways to help their students. Afton-Lakeland hopes to raise $5,000 so the school can purchase iPads and laptops for their students.

Kaul said the school’s computers are 10 years old and in poor condition. They have some iPads but not enough for a classroom set. She adds that the school wants to purchase 10 more to reach a total number of 30 that will serve an entire class.

Oak-Land Junior High’s PTA is also participating in the event and they have a high end-goal.

“At Oak-Land it’s tougher to raise PTA funds than at our elementary schools so our principal, Andy Fields, put together a wish list of sorts, of things we would like to have and the total goal we’d like to meet came to $20,500,” said Anita Fojtik-Craggs, the school’s PTA chair.

Teri Reinseth, another Oak-Land’s PTA member who has been involved in the planning for Give to the Max Day, said if Oak-Land reaches its goal, the funds will go toward $6,500 for the school’s fitness center; $5,000 for technology; $5,000 for a projectors; $2,000 for clubs and after school activities; $1,000 for books; and $1,000 for e-readers.

Fojtik-Craggs said the PTA put together a $2,000 matching grant with area businesses and parents. Overall, Fojtik-Craggs and Reinseth said their participation in the event has been well received by the community.

“We already have gotten people donating. We’ve been working on the campaign for the last month and the school has been a great partner in all of this. There’s a lot of energy around it and we’re reaching people that we haven’t before,” Reinseth said. “We’re hoping it’s a new way to raise funds as the issues get more prevalent with meeting new budgets. It’s a new avenue, and we hope it’s a way to get sustainable help from the community. There’s so many people that don’t like to sell things and it’s a simple way for parents and community members to participate in a giving campaign.”

To donate to these or other area non-profit groups go to on Nov. 15 to make a donation. Early donation scheduling is also available. Those interested in participating can enter the organization they’re looking for into the search bar or simply enter their zip code to find a list of non-profits in their area that are participating in this event.

“Weather you have $10 or $10,000 to give, Nov. 15 is the day to give it,” Nelson said.

Throughout the day of the event, Nelson said donors will be selected at random and the non-profit they donated to will receive an additional $1,000 from and their sponsors. At the end of the day another donor will be selected at random and a $10,000 donation will be added to their chosen non-profit. Donations must be $10 at the minimum, credit cards must be used and donations are tax-deductible.