The Big Give

The couple rushed to Mary Washington Hospital Tuesday in anticipation of their baby’s arrival. But before welcoming their daughter into the world, the couple had one last task: Donating money to the Fairy Godmother Project during an annual nationwide 24-hour fundraising marathon.

But as of Tuesday evening, the parents were still waiting for both the baby and the chance to donate, said Andie McConnell, director of the Fairy Godmother Project.

They weren’t the only ones experiencing a pregnant pause. A computer glitch snarled Give Local America efforts across the country, frustrating would-be donors attempting to give to area nonprofits. Servers crashed, and websites were down much of the day.

Two local efforts—The Community Give and Give Local Piedmont—have extended the daylong fundraiser into today.

The two local efforts were part of a national initiative to spur donations to nonprofits by holding a fundraising marathon from midnight Tuesday to midnight today. But late Tuesday morning, the websites, hosted by Kimbia, grew sluggish and processed donations intermittently.

About 60 communities across America were impacted by troubles with Kimbia’s servers, said Teri McNally, executive director of the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region—which sponsors The Community Give.

The problem seemed to stem from an overload of users trying to use the websites to donate money.

“This is simply due to the large volume of generous people giving on this day, so yay for that,” she said, noting that nonprofit directors dread this sort of scenario happening during the annual fundraising marathon.

The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region extended its fundraising effort until noon today, while the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation—which sponsors Give Local Piedmont—extended its donation hours until 7 tonight.

The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region will accept donations at its office at 725 Jackson St. in Fredericksburg from 9 a.m. to noon today. Union Bank & Trust branches will also accept donations via check from opening time until noon.

Directors of local nonprofits hope that donors will take the delay in stride and continue to make their planned contributions.

For many area charities, Give Local America represents a large portion of their annual donations.

Last year, the Fairy Godmother Project raised nearly $22,000 to help families dealing with pediatric cancer—about one-tenth of the agency’s overall budget.

Downtown Greens raised $5,000 at last year’s event, which accounted for half of the nonprofit’s donations that year.

Downtown Greens holds two other annual fundraisers, which each bring in $2,000, Executive Director Sarah Perry said.

Tuesday morning, the nonprofit had garnered $1,800 in The Community Give before the servers crashed, she said.

“We’re a very small nonprofit, and we receive no money from the city or the state, so fundraisers give us enough money to survive and this is mega important,” she said. “The Community Foundation has been so good with all of this, though. It’s not their fault and they have been as nice and as kind and as patient as they can be through this process.”

Amy Flowers Umble: 540.735-1973

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