RINDERKNECHT AND BLUMBERG: GIVING TO THE MAX

RINDERKNECHT AND BLUMBERG: GIVING TO THE MAX

by Tony Phifer

DANA RINDERKNECHT WAS one of those fortunate few who never pulled an all-nighter while studying for a test or writing a term paper for her degree in applied mathematics from Colorado State University in 1986.

“Math always came easily for me, and it was my favorite subject,” she said.
Thirty years removed from CSU, Rinderknecht looks forward to pulling an all-nighter as a once-yearly ritual. That’s on Colorado Gives Day — an event she lovingly calls “my little day in December.”

“I just always believed we could make this work,” said Rinderknect, who serves as director of online giving for the Colorado-based Community First Foundation. “No one had been able to implement a large online giving campaign, let alone one that encompassed 24 hours. But I always was sure it would work.”

Consider this: When Rinderknecht’s dream was launched in December 2010, the official goal was to raise $1 million, even though she secretly believed up to $3 million was a possibility. By day’s end — the first of her all-nighters — donors had given more than $8.4 million, supporting all kinds of nonprofits across the state.

RAMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Interestingly, when Rinderknecht was setting up Colorado Gives Day, she looked at a similar one-day program in Minnesota called Give to the Max Day. The current leader of that effort is another Ram — Jake Blumberg, executive director of GiveMN.

Like Rinderknecht, Blumberg has rich memories of CSU that include an introduction to community service. He met his wife, Christina Farhart, when both were part of CSU’s President’s Leadership Program.

“My time here at GiveMN was really defined by CSU and my time with PLP,” said Blumberg, who was an award-winning columnist at the Rocky Mountain Collegian before graduating with a degree in journalism and technical communication in 2008.

Christina has bachelor’s (2007) and master’s (2009) degrees in political science.

Blumberg was a program coordinator in the SLiCE (Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement) office and was the staff leader for the annual Cans Around the Oval drive to help feed the hungry of Northern Colorado.

“I’m always inspired to see the community come together to make Minnesota a better place,” he said. “We’ve created kind of a giving holiday — people plan their support of nonprofits and schools on that day. It’s a very unique and exciting day.”

GIVERS RALLIED AROUND

Blumberg and Rinderknecht, along with leadership from other one-day giving projects around the country, have regularly compared strategies and learn from one another.

Rinderknecht said Coloradans, like Minnesotans with Give to the Max Day, have rallied around her dream. People plan their support of their favorite causes for Colorado Gives Day and take pride in seeing the final tally at the end of a very long, sleepless day.

In just six years Colorado Gives Day has raised $121 million, with much of it going to small nonprofits across the state. Included in that total is the first-ever $1 million gift — donated anonymously to the YMCA in 2015.

“From a day in 2010 when we said we would raise $1 million to where we are now — I can honestly tell you that never in my wildest dreams did I think we would get to this point,” Rinderknecht said.

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