Feb. 13 is Giving Hearts Day, a 24-hour online fundraising event hosted by Dakota Medical Foundation to help nonprofits raise funds.

The Boys & Girls Club of Perham and Empowering Kids, two local nonprofits, are participating in this year’s event, which benefits charities in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. However, they will not just be raising funds but also awareness as they paint Perham red.

Paint the Town Red is an awareness campaign that the two groups partnered for and started last year to get more people in town involved, and get those who might not be able to donate to still participate.

“We want to get business and the community involved,” said Christi Stoll, Office Manager at Empowering Kids, a group that supports children and families with autism or other sensory needs.

The funds raised this year on Giving Hearts Day are for two different reasons.

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For the Boys & Girls Club, donations will be going toward scholarships for their before- and after-school programs. Those programs need money to continue running. The club has a “very strong commitment that anyone should be able to access Boys & Girls Club whether they can afford it or not,” said Cori Brown, Unit Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Perham.

Currently, the Boys & Girls Club has about 50 kids on scholarship. Funds raised on Giving Hearts Day will ensure that children who need the club’s programming the most have access to it.

Funds raised for Empower Kids will go toward getting a licensed mental health professional on staff, allowing the group to be able to accept insurance. To accept insurance, the state requires a licensed professional on staff, Stoll said. Not being able to accept insurance bars many families with children who have autism from accessing their services.

There are a few different ways that people can be involved in Giving Hearts Day and in Paint the Town Red:

  • Donate on Feb. 13. “To give they need to go to the Dakota Medical Foundation website listed on Facebook,” Stoll said. Donations need to be designated to either Empowering Kids or to the Boys & Girls Club of Perham at www.facebook.com/dakotamedicalfoundation.
  • "Paint the town red" from Feb. 7 through 13. Involvement can be as simple as putting up a poster about Giving Hearts Day or wearing red. Businesses can decorate for the event on their own or use one of the limited kits made by the Boys & Girls Club and Empowering Kids. They can also offer special food items or donate to the prize wheel, Brown said.

“People have really fun and unique ways of participating,” Stoll said. For example, Central Market will be asking customers if they want to round up to the next whole dollar that week, and the prize wheel will be at Nest on Feb. 13.

The deadline for business to get involved with paint the town red was on Friday, Jan. 24; however, anyone who wants to participate will be accommodated to the best of the nonprofits’ abilities, Stoll said.

After all, “we’re a nonprofit and we work with kids,” Brown said. “We’re pretty flexible.”

Want to get involved?