There’s a lot to love about Monterey County Gives!, starting with the local nonprofit agencies well worth enthusiastic support.

As Gives! co-sponsor Community Foundation for Monterey County finalized numbers this week, there was more to like.

The best part: The sheer amount of people who gave. In the end, donors numbered 1,712 all told.

Individuals ultimately found the change in their heart to donate $969,325 in 2014, including a kid who gave $0.43.

Combined with $187,866 in organizational challenge grants and $190,000 in matching monies from stalwart partners like Cannery Row Company, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Whole Foods, Ona & Robert Murphy Charitable Trust and Neumeier Poma Investment Counsel, that equates to $1,347,191 total, well past the goal of $1.25 million.

Weekly founder and CEO Bradley Zeve hatched the original idea in 2009 and credits the Community Foundation for empowering Gives! to reach the scale it enjoys today.

“It’s exciting to see the whole Gives campaign grow – the number of donors, number of applicants, total dollars raised, younger donors, the match and challenge grants,” he says. “Since the beginning the Monterey County Weekly Community Fund has raised and donated over $5.25 million. That’s a big number, real dollars. That’s both exciting and humbling.”

By contrast, Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance has taken 60 years to raise about $19 million.

“It puts MCGives! in very good company as a local program for supporting nonprofits,” Zeve says.

Kinship Center, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, Ventana Wilderness Alliance and Food Bank for Monterey County led the way in donation amounts drawn. Peace of Mind attracted the most donors (199), and the $1,000 bonus that comes with it.

Monterey Bay Charter School earned the most donors under 35 (94), which also includes a $1,000 kick.

Weekly office manager Linda Maceira sorts through all the generosity, from the students counting out the change on her desk to the biggest individual donation of 2014’s campaign, $44,000.

So she’s well qualified to track how the giving shifts.

“From my perspective the biggest change has been how much of a wider audience has embraced it,” she says. “It still surprises me how no matter how much is raised each year we continue to beat that number the following year.”

A final meaningful number updates daily on the www.mcgives.com website.

As this reaches newstands, that number is 350, as in the number of days until the next MCGives! donation deadline.

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