The WOW factor
November 20, 2012
It’s been nearly ten years since I pulled into Park City after a 1,000-mile drive west — my dad following me in a U-haul that carried all my belongings. I remember that drive very vividly. I remember gasping as I rounded a corner on I-80 and saw the majestic mountain backdrop welcoming us. I remember calling my dad, just a few cars back, and excitedly telling him about "giant deer with huge horns!" dotting the hillside (which he later told me were elk). I remember waking up my first morning as a Park City resident and seeing six hot-air balloons in the sky and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.
Those first few months of living here, it was just wow after wow after wow.
And now, nearly a decade into my life here, I love that the wow has never worn off. There’s still a little wonderment every time I see a moose. My heart still does cartwheels when it snows. I still shake my head in amazement when I bump into an Olympian at the grocery store. And I swell with pride when tourists tell me how lucky I am to live here.
Not a week goes by without a little wow factor. But there’s wow, and then there’s W.O.W.
Which is what this town experienced on November 16 when we collectively raised nearly $600,000 for our local nonprofit organizations.
Last Friday was the second annual Live PC/Give PC day of giving, and by all accounts, it was a wowing success.
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"Our goals were aggressive: $500,000 from 2500 donors," said Trisha Worthington, founder of the Live PC/Give PC campaign and executive director of the Park City Foundation, who organized the event. "We were all nervous until we hit the $400,000 mark in the late afternoon. Once we neared $470,000, the staff, sponsors, volunteers and board members hanging out at our headquarters at The Yard were glued to the big screen. We were refreshing our computers every couple of minutes. At about 7 p.m. we hit refresh and the screen showed $504,000! Everyone cheered, hugged, and the champagne was served."
Trisha and her gang certainly weren’t alone in their excitement. The entire town seemed to be joining in a communal celebration, with dozens of nonprofits holding community thank-you parties throughout town, donors high-fiving each other on street corners and people frequently updating their Facebook statuses with how much money had been raised.
"It’s like City Park on the 4th of July and the best powder day of the year at the same time," a friend of mine told me. "Everyone is just so happy and involved and whooping and hollering with excitement."
In fact, not since Karl Rove established a Super PAC for racist, homophobic, greedy old white dudes have I seen so many people actually thrilled to part with their money. There was a true spirit of giving, and very much unlike Karl’s fund, all the money given away on the 16th went to really good causes.
"We’re grateful for all the community support again this year," said Lisa Allison, executive director of Friends of Animals. "Park City truly sees pet rescue as a core value. Our adoption numbers for this year are already exceeding last year by almost 100 more pets having found loving homes! Therefore, the funds raised during Live PC/Give PC will go directly to pet care and making their temporary stay with us as comfortable as possible."
The campaign’s website, http://www.livepcgivepc.com provided a live-time ticker noting how much each nonprofit had raised, how many donors had given money, and the ranking of each charity. Many nonprofit directors were glued to their computers, hoping their charity would be at the top.
John Hanrahan, the founder of The Hope Alliance, was one of those people. "We were hoping to be on the first page of nonprofits to get some good awareness. To be in the top three all day long was an extraordinary gift from our community. This community is so amazing and giving in so many ways, I can’t imagine ever leaving!"
The Park City Foundation provided additional grant monies to the organizations with the most unique donors — $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second and $1,250 for third. In the end, The Hope Alliance and Friends of Animals took home a little extra cash for having the second and third most donors last Friday. Mountain Trails Foundation came in first with 412 unique donors.
"The vision of the campaign is a community where everyone that lives, works and plays in Park City gives to a nonprofit organization that enriches their life," Trisha added. "The campaign was about participation, not about making a big gift. We had over 2,600 unique donors make gifts and on average each donor gave to two organizations!"
And while this year’s campaign is in the books, next year’s is sure to be bigger and better. And anyone who has ever been wowed by Park City should be on this list of donors.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley. If you have a story idea, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.