The Salvation Army is still short about $500,000 in its annual red kettle campaign, which wraps up Tuesday — despite another donation from the anonymous donor dubbed St. Grand.
The secretive philanthropist dropped another wad of cash totaling $1,500 in kettles on Friday, the eighth year the donor has been known to contribute to the nonprofit's campaign. The donor has given $12,000 this year, all in the form of $100 bills.
But the generosity isn't enough to close the Salvation Army's shortfall, down a half-million dollars compared with this time last year, despite debuting new mobile pay technology that allowed people to donate via Apple Pay or Google Pay. Also, starting last Friday, some donors pledged to match up to $1 million donations given through Christmas Eve — doubling what's given to kettles or online.
"There's a sense of urgency," said Dan Furry, a spokesman of the nonprofit. "I was hoping for a better report."
The Salvation Army aimed to bring in $3 million in donations through Christmas Eve at its more than 300 red kettles in the metro, part of an overall goal to raise $12 million by the end of the month. Furry said the organization is still nearly $5 million short of that $12 million goal, but he's optimistic the final week of the month will spur a spike in generosity.
"I'm still hopeful we'll see improvement," he said. "It is one of the times of the year when giving is most prolific."
In 2014, the nonprofit cut some programs after failing to reach its fundraising goal, and in 2017, it fell short of its goal again. If this year ends with a shortfall, Furry said the nonprofit could tap its reserves or cut programs.
Officials blamed the shortage on thinner shopping crowds due to recent cold, snowy weather and the shorter season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition, the rising popularity of online shopping closed some stores where kettles were stationed.
The nonprofit was also short toys for 17,000 Twin Cities children in need, but a surge in toy donations last week closed the gap.
St. Grand has done their part, giving $12,600 last year after contributing $10,400 in 2017 — all in $100 bills bundled together. The Salvation Army, which has a $28 million annual budget, helps 155,000 people in the metro each year with meals, shelter and other social services.
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141