BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – PAW Director Sandy Brown literally lost all her hair trying to raise money for the Fort Madison animal shelter Tuesday morning.
Just over a week ago, Brown didn’t even know there was chance of pulling off the fundraiser with a charity called Jordan’s Way.
The charity, founded by Kris Rotonda, is making a name for itself on social media by livestreaming four-hour hyped up fundraising efforts to help clear animal shelters around the country. Rotonda lost his dog “Jordan” recently and set about helping raising funds for shelters.
Brown said someone from the charity reached out to her last Tuesday and said there was one spot left open for Iowa and asked if she wanted it.
“When we talked to the guy, we weren’t even on the list. They had one spot open last Tuesday night and they called and asked if we would like to do it,” Brown said.
“How bad could it be. We didn’t have a whole lot of time and honestly we spent most of the time before just cleaning up the shelter.”
Brown said most of Rotonda’s events raise between $10,000 and $15,000, but she set the bar at $20,000 because she said Lee County has a history of stepping up.
“He said don’t go too high because the goal needs to be attainable. I told him we’d hit $20,000 and if we got $25,000 I’d shave my head during the event.”
The craziness started at 10 a.m. and ran until 2 p.m. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., Fort Madison City Councilwoman Donna Amandus buzzed Brown to the scalp as donations online and private donations made at the shelter surpassed $25,000.
Then Brad Walker, president of the board for the animal shelter, offered to shave his 17-year-old beard if the donations went over $30,000.
“I don’t think Brad thought he would have to shave it,” Brown said. “He’s home now regrowing it.”
The livestream will stay on the PAW Facebook site for 48 hours and the donation link stays live during that time. Brown said when all is said and done she hopes to raise $40,000.
The $38,000 four-hour mark is the most Rotonda has ever helped raise. The previous most was $23,000 in Chicago where a professional baseball player came in and donated $10,000.
Brown said she never imagined that a fundraiser she didn’t know she was having a week ago, would generate that kind of response.
“But I don’t know why I should be surprised. I should not limit God’s blessings here. When he blesses the shelter I should never be surprised,” she said. “I’m still getting calls from people wanting to know if they can donate.”
The largest donation of the day came in from Linda Smith, who tried to drop the check off an sneak away. Rotonda sniffed out who made the donation, caught her and brought her into the event, where she hit Brown in the face with a whip cream pie.
Brown said there were several large donations made and it will take some time to go through the feed to see where all the donations came from.
Rotonda told the group before he left they were the best sports he’s seen on any staff, and then said he wanted to come back next year to do it again.
“Today was just one more instance of proof that we live in a really great little community and great county. Everybody should be proud of Fort Madison and the surrounding communities that made this happen.”