Anonymous couple helps raise $80k

LIHUE — Like a superhero really, doing good while remaining anonymous.

And while the identity behind the mystery couple will remain a secret, who’s to say they don’t save lives — dog and cat lives?

The Kauai Humane Society announced this weekend that the organization raised nearly $80,000 thanks in large part to a matching donation drive backed by a Kauai couple that tripled every pledge that came in over $100.

The nameless couple put up their own money at a 2:1 ratio to help the nonprofit organization raise funds.

But there’s no pulling off their masks, certainly not publicly, anyway.

“They don’t want any acknowledgment from the community for what they did,” said Penny Cistaro, KHS executive director. “They get humbled when I thank them.”

The idea behind the nine-week drive came when KHS issued a newsletter about capital drives. The organization, with a roughly $2.4 million overall operating budget, needs to replenish its reserve fund that has been sinking since the recession years of 2009, but without whacking services.

To keep other possible donors engaged, the couple said they’d help raise money by matching the bigger pledges.

And when the drive ended on Halloween, the couple put up about $50,000 of their own cash to make good on the $25,000 that others pitched in. Counting the donations under $100, the total fundraising program netted over $80,000.

An innovative way to raise money? You bet.

“It doesn’t come around everyday, you can ask other nonprofits about that,” said Will Anzenberger, KHS development director, who added the best part of the idea was that it kept other people involved in a friendly yet competitive way. “We certainly hope to do it in the future. It’s a wonderful program.”

One group that helped was Nadine Rodrick’s junior kindergarten class in Kapaa, which pooled their money — mostly coins and a lot of them —  for $217.72.

That meant 653.16 for KHS, which took in 5,400 animals last year between its county and private services it provides.

While Cistaro was sworn to protect their identities, she did offer a couple of clues. The local couple is active with the organization and they like all animals, but cats most of all.

As for public spotlight or kudos?

“For some people, it’s the act of giving that is the reward,” Cistaro said.

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