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Local non-profits take the challenge to raise money

The race was on for nonprofit organizations across the state Tuesday.

At 8 a.m., nearly 30 of these organizations kicked off the second annual Avenue for Hope Housing Challenge.

As donations began flooding in, it was the southeast Idaho community who was feeling particularly generous which gave the nonprofit organization Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services a shot to the No. 1 spot.

Mark Dahlquist, executive director of the PNHS, said Tuesday morning that the community is feeling extra motivated this year to give back.

“I think it’s been really motivating to our donors out there that we’ve been telling them today that the Home Partnership Foundation is out there and they have money they will match for us,” Dahlquist said. “So far it’s only 11:30, and we’re up to 23 donations.”

Success during this competition is not something the PNHS is used to. As a matter of fact, last year it did not even place. But this time around, Dahlquist said it has a shot at the $10,000 first place bonus check.

Dahlquist said this money will go toward helping the PNHS fix more homes and structures around the community. He said for every $25 donated, the money is usually matched by the overall grand prize total, so it is actually the equivalent of donating $75 toward helping fix up a community in need of some renovations.

However, not every organization was seeing the cash flow so clearly.

The Family Services Alliance is another nonprofit organization based in Pocatello. Although it came in second place last year, this year it has started seeing a change in the money it’s raising.

FSA Executive Director Sarah Leeds said her organization is not strapped for cash in the least bit, but it could sure use the money this year to help build new shelters around the community for people who are trying to escape domestic abuse.

Leeds said she believes the slowdown in the funds trickling in this year is due to the threat of the fiscal cliff looming over Congress.

“We’re looking at a really tough year next year,” Leeds said. “We did not see some of our grants come through and donations are down. Right now we’re anticipating what Congress does, and it may be a rough year ahead.”

The overall cash pool of prize money is $45,000 split-up among the top 10 organizations in the state who have raised the most amount of money in donations.

The challenge ends Dec. 31.

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