"Go Big Give" campaign to benefit GI YMCA

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - People with the "Go Big Give" campaign want to raise $1 million this year for local non-profits, and one is hoping to use the donations to buy new technology for kids.

Kinds in the childcare program at the YMCA in Grand Island aren't short of toys to play with and books to read, but one thing they don't have is technology.

That's why the Y is hoping to buy eight tablets for their younger kids with the money raised during the "Go Big Give" campaign.

"I've only been here a couple months, and one of the things I've noticed we were lacking in the child center was that technology piece," said Charles Hansen, CEO of the Grand Island YMCA. "The teachers do an awesome job with reading and getting them active. So getting them exposure at an early age is really important."

Hansen said their three and four year olds will use the tablets for educational games. It'll be part of their new Hatch program, which contains a STEM curriculum, and begins next month.

The tablets cost between $250 and $500 each.

Hansen said they'll help their young kids be prepared when they go to school.

"With the tablets, they actually have games that they're learning, and then it charts how the kids are doing on the "games," but they're actually learning and developing. Then we get to see the progress from each grade level," Hansen said.

Heartland United Way and the Grand Island Community Foundation teamed up for the sixth year of "Go Big Give." This year, the 24-hour online donation will benefit 125 non-profit organizations in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties.

People with the campaign announced the goal at a press conference Tuesday at Tom Dinsdale in Grand Island.

In the last six year, the campaign has doubled the number of non-profits participating.

This year, the fundraising goal of $1 million is $325,000 more than what they raised last year.

"We want new donors to all of these organizations. We want to grow philanthropy. We want to create that education awareness about all the great things that are happening, and all these wonderful programs, and encourage people to give," said Karen Rathke, president of Heartland United Way.

The big day of online giving is on May 2.

You can schedule a pre-give on April 25 through May 1.

You can check out the local non-profits participating at https://www.gobiggive.org/.