For the second year in a row, an anonymous donor matched the Neediest Cases funds raised in 2010, bringing the total to $148,903 -- the most ever raised.
"We just feel so incredibly blessed that even in a difficult economy we have more givers again this year and [who] collectively gave more than ever before," said Jason Taylor, president of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
"To have the generosity of this anonymous match is such a special blessing to our community and it speaks to the incredible generosity of our community as a whole that we witnessed again this year," he added.
From Thanksgiving until the end of the year, the Times Free Press asks its readers to donate to Neediest Cases, a fund of last resort that the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults uses to help people with needs ranging from health care to rent and utilities.
Adolf Ochs, former Chattanooga Times publisher, started the tradition in Chattanooga in 1914, which continued after the merger of The Chattanooga Times and the Chattanooga Free Press in 1999.
This year, readers contributed close to $74,000, compared to the $48,000 donated in 2009. Along with 2010's $75,000 donation, an anonymous donor gave a matching $50,000 in 2009, raising the total that year to about $98,000.
"I can only say I was awestruck when I heard the news [of the anonymous match]," said Sandra Hollett, chief executive officer for the Partnership.
"This is a year where we've just seen over and over again how many people need help and how this fund sometimes can help in just a small way but can make a huge difference in a person's life," she said.
"In these challenging times it is so inspiring for us who are working in the nonprofit [sector] to know there are angels out there who are generous and compassionate, and it makes a real difference in the work we do and in the community," she added.
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Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...