Holly Green and Diane Wheatley of the Port Townsend School of the Arts are celebrating a successful Giving Tuesday which raised the school more than $7,000 from individual donors and another $5,000 since from a donation matching challenge. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Holly Green and Diane Wheatley of the Port Townsend School of the Arts are celebrating a successful Giving Tuesday which raised the school more than $7,000 from individual donors and another $5,000 since from a donation matching challenge. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend arts school delighted with Giving Tuesday response

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend School of the Arts surpassed all expectations during its first-ever Giving Tuesday campaign.

The school received a challenge from Sonchen and Jock Patton of Port Townsend who offered to match the community donations if they were able to collect $5,000 on Tuesday.

“We surpassed it by half,” said Diane Wheatley, treasurer for the Port Townsend School of the Arts (PTSA) board. “We’re very excited and surprised.”

The school collected $7,000 on Tuesday, Wheatley said.

By Wednesday, the amount had increased to $7,250, she said.

This was the first year the school participated in Giving Tuesday, an online movement that promotes giving to area nonprofits, charities and organizations.

“We’ve just been through our first full year,” Wheatley said. “We’re a young company and just got our feet wet, but the matching challenge from Sonchen and Jock really spurred us on.”

Wheatley said a check for $5,000 is on its way from the Pattons.

At the same time, donations from community members are still flooding in.

“We had a lot of people call in and ask for an address so they can send a check,” Wheatley said. “Those should be here soon.”

The school also collected donations using Facebook. Total donations from the site aren’t in yet.

“We’re expected to know that by the end of the week,” Wheatley said.

According to Wheatley, 100 percent of donors so far contributed to the school for the first time. A third of known donors were actually people who have taken classes at the school, she added.

“That’s a good feeling,” Wheatley said. “They are coming to classes and want to see us grow, so we must be doing something right.”

The school’s push for donations was so successful that an anonymous donor has offered another $5,000 donation-matching challenge.

If individual donors can raise another $5,000 through the end of 2016, the anonymous donor promises to match it.

“We figured the end of the year would be easy for people for tax reasons,” Wheatley said. “This is also a good time since this is when people give.”

Wheatley said the school will use donations for scholarships for summer programs as well as buying new supplies and replacing a sink.

“We’re just trying to invest back into the school,” said Holly Green, the school’s programs and operations manager.

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to use social media to fuel charitable donations, according to the founders, the Belfer Center for Innovation &Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

Others that signed up on the Giving Tuesday website at www.givingtuesday.org are the Port Townsend Main Street Program, Centrum, United Way of Clallam County, Olympic Peninsula YMCA, Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County, Habitat for Humanity of Jefferson County, North Olympic Land Trust, The Boiler Room.

Also, Copper Canyon Press, Organic Seed Alliance, Northwind Arts Center, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, KPTZ Radio, North Olympic Salmon Coalition, Northwest Maritime Center, Maritime Discovery Schools, The ReCyclery and Radio Port Townsend.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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