Harmony, Lanesboro have friendly competition during Give To The Max

Charlie Warner

“It was kind of like David against Goliath,” Louis Wolfgramm said with a laugh. “This was our first year, while Harmony has a very well-organized group that has been conducting their very successful fundraiser for a number of years. I guess we are going to have to bring the pies and the ice cream. We’ll just have to find out who the good pie makers are in our group.”

Wolfgramm was referring to the friendly challenge the Lanesboro and Harmony area community foundations had during the statewide Give To The Max fundraiser, which was held Nov. 14.

Wolfgramm, who is a member of the Lanesboro Area Community Foundation, explained that members of the Lanesboro group wanted to get involved in the Give To The Max campaign, which Harmony has participated in during the past six years. So they asked the Harmony group for a little advice. Along the way, the idea of a friendly challenge was born. The organization that raised the most money would be treated to pie and ice cream, along with a donation of 250 early childhood books valued at $4,542 from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

“We knew we weren’t going to win,” Wolfgramm admitted. “The Harmony group was a good mentor for us. We learned a lot and exceeded our original goal. We were hoping to raise $3,000 and actually raised $5,335. There are many things we will be using this money for.”

The Harmony Area Community Foundation had its best year yet, according to HACF board member Steve Donney. A total of $26,995 was brought in through local donations and matching grants during the one-day event. During the seven years the HACF has been participating in the Give To The Max campaign, it has raised just under $150,000 in donations and matching grants.

Give To The Max, originally known as GiveMN, was launched in 2009 as a collaborative venture led by the Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make Minnesota a better place. Organizers of the statewide event were looking for a program that could generate money on the local level that would help fund local programs and projects. 

The initial Give To The Max Day touched off a blast of online giving, totaling $14 million in just 24 hours. Since that trial run in 2009, Give To The Max Day has become an annual event in Harmony. The HACF has been able to donate more than $200,000 to Harmony area groups and organizations from money raised by this program and other events.