Congregation Ariel Youth serves ages 18 months to 18 years.

By Michael Jacobs / mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

The youth program at Congregation Ariel has an extra $33,635 to spend after a 24-hour online fundraiser.

Congregation Ariel Youth was one of 19 organizations participating in the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals’ #MillionforOutreach campaign from noon Feb. 17 to noon Feb. 18.

Each organization had to line up three matching donors to quadruple contributions. Each organization had to set a firm goal. And each organization had to hit its fundraising goal, or none of them would collect a dime.

The goals totaled $1.1 million, ranging from $20,000 for the Jewish Leadership Association of Long Island University to $180,000 for Emet Outreach.

Gila Decker, Ariel’s fundraising vice president, wanted to do an online fundraiser, and Rabbi Binyomin Friedman discovered the AJOP campaign. The congregation board, Jeff and Carrla Goldstein, and Dan and Kim Cohen and the Ariel Chai Foundation agreed to be the matching donors.

“Rabbi Friedman is especially proud of the Congregation Ariel board, who were the first ones to put up matching money,” said Ariel’s youth director, Rabbi Mordechai Birnbaum. “Everyone involved had a sense of pride in having created something so much bigger that ourselves.”

Rabbi Birnbaum said it took only a few hours to hit Ariel’s goal of $25,000. Then the waiting began.

“We were a bit nervous at the end,” Rabbi Birnbaum said, adding that some Ariel donors might have contributed to other groups if they’d understood the all-or-nothing rules. Two groups hit their goals with 20 minutes to spare, and the 19th group hit its total nine minutes from the deadline. Altogether, $1.37 million was raised.

During the 24 hours Ariel received nearly 140 donations to raise $30,135 for its youth program, which serves ages 18 months to 18 years. Additional gifts after the official campaign raised the total to $33,635.

“We’re grateful to everyone who participated and especially to the matchers, who really committed to donating above and beyond,” Rabbi Birnbaum said.

He said the uses of the money will probably include more Shabbatons and an expansion of learning programs. “We’ll be sure to use it well.”