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Giving Tuesday donations put Launch NY over $100,000 crowdfunding goal

With a surge of donations on Giving Tuesday, Launch NY has surpassed its goal of raising $100,000 online toward a new nonprofit seed fund.

Launch NY, a Buffalo-based organization that supports startup activity in Upstate New York, raised $69,275 on Tuesday, a day when people are encouraged through social media to donate to charities and nonprofit organizations following the lengthy bacchanal of spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The organization was left with $108,185 by the end of Tuesday and plans to continue to raise money online through Jan. 1, said Michael Benzin, who handles fundraising and development for Launch NY.

This is the first time that Launch NY has raised money online, a technique known as crowdfunding that relies on collecting a number of small, individual donations that has grown popular with the rise of sites such as GoFundMe.

The organization is working through GiveGab, a crowdfunding site based in Ithaca that specializes in raising money for nonprofits and that is a former Launch NY client.

Benzin said Launch NY wanted to raise at least some of the money for its seed fund through crowdfunding to show “you don’t have to be Bill Gates to contribute to it.”

Launch NY is seeking to raise $5 million in total for its seed fund, with most coming through traditional sources. The seed fund will boost startup companies in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton.

Organizers launched the crowdfunding campaign in late October and realized even back then Giving Tuesday would be a fruitful day for fundraising.

“I think we looked at it as a big day we could leverage and use,” Benzin said.

The 43X79 venture group gave $25,000 on Tuesday, VCAMP and Evans Bank each gave $10,000, an anonymous donor gave $9,500 and Colligan Law gave $5,000, among numerous other donations.