Schwartz Center comes out on top in online fundraiser

DOVER — More than 200 Delaware nonprofits participated in a United Way-sponsored online fundraiser Thursday and the Schwartz Center for the Arts ended the day on top.

“We stayed up until the stroke of midnight to watch the results come in,” said Schwartz executive director Sydney Arzt. “We definitely went to sleep smiling broadly.”

The Schwartz was able to raise $9,398 from 86 donors through the Do More 24 campaign which lasted from 12:01 a.m. Thursday to 11:59 p.m. that night.

Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington came in a distant second with $5,582 from 72 donors.

Sydney Arzt

Sydney Arzt

The day of giving was able to raise a total of $97,736 for the participating organizations.

After the success of Delaware’s inaugural Do More 24 campaign, United Way already has decided to make it an annual event. Next year’s Do More 24 is slated for June 1.

Incentives were held throughout the 24-hour fundraiser and by finishing in first place, the Schwartz will receive an award of $2,500 at United Way’s June 16 meeting.

“This is a remarkable demonstration of our community uniting to raise much needed funding for programs and services that meet our community’s needs,” said Michelle Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Delaware.

The timing of Do More 24 couldn’t have been better for the Schwartz Center. It was alerted last month that the regular donations it had received from both Delaware State University and Wesley College would be curbed.

“If it were not for these two institutions, the Schwartz Center for the Arts would not be where it is today,” said a Schwartz Center statement released Thursday. “For this reason, the new Board of Directors and the executive director have kicked into high gear to survive.”

To expand the possibilities of Thursday’s drive, the Schwartz Center’s didn’t limit its fundraising effort to the web. It also hosted an outdoor celebration on State Street for locals to enjoy food trucks, live music and tours of the historical theater.

“We really enjoyed the afternoon celebration,” Ms. Arzt said. “We had a lot of community members come out in support of us, and some were also able to donate us while spreading well wishes.”

The fundraising efforts this week, although fruitful, were only the beginning of a long road the theater will face as it creates a new budget and takes a new approach to entertainment programing.

Ms. Arzt estimated the funds raised Thursday will be enough to hold the theater over for more than a month.

“This isn’t the end of efforts for us,” she said. “This has given us the opportunity to get our story out there and we hope it allows us to better engage with the community and form new partnerships.”

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