In its fourth outing, the Clay Center Community Improvement Foundation’s (CCCIF) annual Match Day event has eclipsed their previous record by bringing in $175,658.67 in a single day of fundraising. The massive increase in donations coincided with the CCCIF returning to hosting Match Day as an in-person event after hosting a purely virtual fundraising drive in 2020.

Last year, the CCCIF Gather for Good Match Day raised $137,850, with an accompanying $25,000 dollars in matching funds provided to the participating non-profits, setting a high bar for this year’s event. With more than $90,000 raised in the first 90 minutes of Thursday’s affair, the explosive start to the day’s fundraising goals caused CCCIF Chairperson Morree Floersch to exclaim, “Do we dare get excited?”

It would take less than an hour for Floersch’s question to have a definitive answer when, shortly before 2:30 p.m., the fundraising total crossed $140,000 and continued to climb.

Remarking on the success of the day, Floersch said, “I am so happy for everyone today. This is why I love being part of the [CCCIF], because I don’t have to choose just one organization.”

Many of the local non-profits involved in Match Day were gathered outside of the Clay County Museum, networking with each other and discussing their projects to prospective donors.

Donna Long and Donald Wright, representing Bridges of Hope, said this year the non-profit was excited to raise funds to better the Clay County General Public Transportation program. Long said that many in the community do not realize the Public Transportation program is open to all Clay County citizens, jokingly adding, “We’re not just your grandma’s taxi.”

Chris Mellies and Garett Payne of the Clay Enter Zoo brought along a new friend to meet the public, Tank the African spurred tortoise. Tank is a band new addition to the zoo, having just arrived on Wednesday after being rescued from the side of I-70 outside of Goodland, Kansas last March.

Mellies said he and Payne were happy to be outside meeting with the community and discussing some of the exciting things planned at the Clay Center Zoo, noting how far the zoo has come based on donations from the Clay County community.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the people we have here,” said Mellies.

According to the CCCIF Gather for Good leaderboard, the following organizations were the top five to receive donations:

  • CCCIF Match Day Fund - $17,555

  • St. Paul Lutheran Church - $16,620

  • A Mural Movement - $11,580

  • Clay Center Utility Park and Zoo - $11,085

  • Clay County Hospital Foundation - $10,780