Idaho Gives: The Boise Kick-Off Party at Even Stevens 

click to enlarge Left to right: Merlin Komenda, Evin Bask and Betsy Ellsworth worked the Idaho Gives desk at Even Stevens.

Harrison Berry

Left to right: Merlin Komenda, Evin Bask and Betsy Ellsworth worked the Idaho Gives desk at Even Stevens.

Merlin Komenda, a project coordinator for GiveGab, watched on his laptop as total giving on Idaho Gives jumped from $425,000 to almost $437,000 in under 15 minutes. Komenda was sitting at a table in a packed-to-the-gills Even Stevens in downtown Boise, which served as this year's Idaho Gives morning headquarters. The mood on Thursday morning was euphoric, as representatives of nonprofits like Idaho Central Credit Union and the Idaho Youth Ranch rubbed elbows inside the Bannock Street sandwich shop.

By 9 a.m., nearly all of the 598 participating nonprofits had already received donations. This year's total goal is $1.7 million; and when giving reaches $559,000, donations over the 5-year history of Idaho Gives will top the $7 million mark.

Sitting next to Komenda was Idaho Gives Program and Events Manager Evin Bask, who said giving is already well on its way to beating out giving in 2018.

"The phone has been ringing off the hook," she said about the day of giving's new phone bank. "We've been seeing a lot of good engagement."
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