[ The Money In Your Pocket May Not Get You Through The Day]
Beginning in the evening hours of November 16th and running until just after midnight the morning of Friday, November 18th – HUGE Theater held our annual 28 hour improv marathon (or Improvathon) to raise money on Give To The Max Day 2016.
This is not only a crucial day for the operations of HUGE Theater – it is a wonderful event that features weeks of people writing about what this place and this art form mean to them and how much difference it has made in their lives. We owe everyone tremendous thanks for all the love and energy they bring to this place as well as the funds raised to keep it going.
The people you see in the photo above stayed awake and and watched 24 hours (or more) of the event – performed by more than 150 improvisers and run by dozens of volunteers – while helping tweet, post, email and text to help us on the single most important day of fundraising for our theater.
In the end, it was more than a little like Fantasia.
We have sponsors to thank for keeping those magic brooms going!
Once again we thank Common Roots Catering and Steamship Coffee for all of the caffeinated liquid support they sent our way – as well as Black Eye Coffee and True Stone Coffee Roasters who donated cold brew coffee for to keep everyone wide awake and laughing.
To our surprise, you cannot (?!?) improvise for 28 hours on coffee alone – and we didn’t have to – thanks to generous donations from Kerry’s Donut Bites in the morning and our local Toppers Pizza in the evening keeping everyone fed!
THE OFFICIAL RESULTS
If you aren’t familiar already, Give To the Max Day is THE fundraising day of the year for HUGE Theater as it is a focused day of charitible giving across Minnesota made possible by GiveMN.
HUGE focuses all our energy and efforts on this day – which was especially hard this year falling so close after an election season and knowing how many people have been asked all year to give and give to campaigns and causes – but GTMD is our day.
We knew that we were aiming high by setting our fundraising goal at $50,000 this year and this community is second to none when we come to this generosity and support.
The number are in from our box office and our official GiveMN.org tally is $43,556.08 – which includes several donations that literally came in at the last second while we were on stage waiting to present the results, when added to the cash donations at the door we announced that at the stroke of midnight we hit
Some Astonishing Stats:
We received 838 gifts online from all over the world – for a total of 1048 donations.
[ CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS: We missed a zip code from Arkansas! Map corrected ]
Donations came in from Australia, Canada, The UK and from 46 US States!
We won a GTMD “Golden Ticket” for $1000 in the afternoon and won GiveMN’s “power hour” prize for 11pm – for another $1000 – meaning in that hour we received more donations than any other non-profit in the state of Minnesota taking part in GTMD.
HUGE Improv Theater ranked 32nd overall in total money raised – and only 10th overall in number of donations – that’s against non-profits of every size and shows that we are swinging well above our weight class! Everyone involved should be as extremely proud as we are endlessly grateful.
We are also thrilled to announce that our top Iron Audience fundraiser was Shea Roberts!
Top fundraising performing groups:
1st place: Super Good!
2nd place : Tobes & Prindy
3rd place: Squash Banana
Honorable Mention: Drum Machine
It should be noted that Super Good included two very special Iron Audience members – Gubby and Erik – who were not only fundraising individually AND for their group but also dedicated their efforts to Samantha Periera, a dear friend and teacher we lost suddenly almost a year ago.
As groups came together this year and donations came in, we saw Samantha’s name in so many dedications and group fundraising pages – we miss her every day and being the kind of place that Samantha would’ve been proud of is important to us – She was passionate about sharing her love of improv with all the people around her, there is nothing more fitting than all of these people sharing it in her name.
Thank you, everyone, for such a loving gift.
In closing, it is always impossible to find a closing for this post – what you have all done will be with HUGE Theater every day of the year and makes such a difference that there is no summary that can truly wrap it all up and no amount of thanks that can capture all the feelings.
There are so many people to thank for making this improbable thing happen and making it look inevitable – thank you to EVERY single person who participated in this achievement – box office staff, photographers, volunteer coordinators, social media ninjas, techs, donors, cleaning volunteers, runners of errands, and ALL the performers – Thank you.
I want to end by revisiting something from last year.
Nobody ever says they love HUGE or that HUGE is important because of the stage, the seats, the lights or the other parts of the building – they love this place and it is important because of the people you will find here. Some of the most generous, dedicated, wonderful, funny and talented people I have ever met in my life and it is my profound privilege to know.
Add to it that I know this was not easy, what you just did. I know it well.
I know that it was difficult to turn to your friends and family and colleagues all over the world, not two weeks after an election, and make the case that this silly place that makes people laugh and teaches adults how to pretend is the important cause to focus on right this minute.
We can be a place of joy and love and laughter and it may not change the world outside our front door, but it can make such a difference for the people that come inside. We can be a place where people can connect and find community, a place where people can just be at ease and laugh and a place where people learn to use their voices. That’s no small thing.
I’m so proud to be part of a place like that and I am so grateful you are all part of it.
We get to keep being that place because of – and for – all of you.
That means everything. Thank you.
Executive Director of HUGE Theater and Humble Servant