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Communities share the love on Giving Tuesday
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Golden Belt Community Foundation board members Leonard Bunselmeyer, left, and Joan Panning, right, accept a donation over the noon hour during Giving Tuesday. More than $80,000 and counting has been donated to area non-profit groups and endowed funds this month through the fundraising campaign. - photo by Susan Thacker

People who stopped by the Golden Belt Community Foundation office in Great Bend on Tuesday could make a donation to their choice of more than 70 area charities, endowed funds or nonprofit organizations — and they weren’t alone.

For this year’s #Giving Tuesday event, the Golden Belt Community Foundation had offices open to accept donations in Barton, Pawnee, Rush and Stafford counties. There was chili and cinnamon rolls for anyone who came in over the noon hour to make a donation, and their names were placed in a drawing for two $250 prizes that would go to the charity of their choice.

The Great Bend drawing winners were Arlan Schroeder and Dara Touslee. Two more $250 “dinner date” winners were drawn at each of the Giving Tuesday locations, and there was another drawing for online donors, said Christy Tustin, executive director of the GBCF.

In years past, GBCF’s Giving Tuesday efforts have targeted the foundation’s endowed funds in central Kansas. This year, organizations were asked to sign up in advance if they wanted to participate, but they didn’t have to have funds with the foundation. About 20 of the groups on the list of potential recipients are not affiliated with the GBCF.

That’s OK, Tustin said. Giving back to area communities is the mission of the GBCF, and the purpose of Giving Tuesday.

Donation categories were animals, arts and humanities, community, education and youth, health, religious, and social services.

Officially, Giving Tuesday lasts the entire month of November and any donation sent to the GBCF by the end of this week is counted in the total and eligible for additional incentives.

“We started the day with about $45,000 already in,” Tustin said. By noon, she estimated more than $80,000 had been donated.

“It’s been a great day. We’ve seen an increase in online giving,” she said.

There are $10,000 in matching funds that will be awarded in proportion to the total amount raised during the entire month of November, Tustin said. And all participating organizations are eligible for an additional $5,000 in cash incentive prizes that will be awarded throughout the Giving Tuesday campaign — including the $250 lunchtime drawings mentioned above. Schools were again offered an incentive to participate, and Great Bend USD 428 schools joined the event for the first time.

Donations may be made online at, where participants can select the organization or endowment fund(s) they wish to support. Gifts can be made in person or mailed to the GBCF to qualify for Giving Tuesday at 1307 Williams St., P.O. Box 1911, Great Bend, KS 67530 anytime in the month of November. 

Checks must be made out to GBCF. All donations must be postmarked or received by Nov. 30.

The final results of Giving Tuesday will be announced on Dec. 20, when the Foundation hosts the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Coffee. That will be at 9 a.m. at the Prince of Peace Parish Center.

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Golden Belt Community Foundation Board member Joan Panning, right, draws winners from a stack of donation forms held by Christy Tustin, director of the Golden Belt Community Foundation. People who made a donation at one of the Giving Tuesday sites between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Nov. 27 were entered in drawings to win $250 for the charity of their choice. - photo by Susan Thacker