Fundraising Phenom hits over $22,000 for area charities


Just before Thanksgiving, we introduced you to a six-year-old boy from Mt. Vernon, South Dakota who decided he wanted to donate some of his piggy bank money to charity.

The news spread like wildfire and matching donations came pouring in from all over the country.

When we last caught up with six-year-old Jed Frank, he’d been checking his mail and checking it twice and for good reason.

“Because people were sending us a lot of mail, and a lot of checks,” Jed said.

If you recall, Jed had been saving his money to buy a new dirt bike, but wanted to donate some of his savings to charity.

His dad, Weston, was so proud of him, he decided to match the donation himself and posted it on Facebook.

That led to hundreds of people matching Jed’s donation and in some cases even more, leading to a dollar amount they never ever thought was possible.

Don Jorgensen: How much money did you guys end up raising?

Weston: How much was it Jed?

Jed: $11,736

Don Jorgensen: Have you ever seen so much money Jed?

Jed: Nope .

So, as promised, Jed and his dad have been donating that money to area charities that really needed the help over the holidays.

“So we have several different families we are helping out, a couple of them we quietly asked around in our communities of Mt. Vernon and Mitchell, you know is there anyone you know who needs a little extra help, this winter,” Weston said.

They bought bikes for kids on the Lower Brule Reservation and other toys; they donated $4,000 to Feeding South Dakota.

But with their money they were also able to make their dollars really stretch.

Thanks to matching donations by others, like Mark Fonder, who co-founded Hungry Hearts Foundation, that $4,000 to Feeding South Dakota turned into $8,000. But there’s more.

“We took $1,000 to the Mitchell Area Safe House and that was kind of cool because somebody actually matched our money, so that turned into $4,000 and the same thing with the Caring Closet in Mitchell, we matched somebody else’s donation so instead of giving $500 it was technically $1,000,” Weston said.

With the help of a couple of friends, they donated to Sioux Falls’ Salvation Army.

“They went on match day and took a thousand dollars in 20’s and put them in and that actually turned into $5,000,” Weston said.

To think this all started with Jed breaking into his piggy bank and wanting to donate just $40 to help feed the hungry.

“That I was going to help a few people, but ended up helping a lot a lot of people,” Jed said.

In all, Jed raised enough money to donate to nine non-profit organizations in the area, including a few needy families.

Now that’s a great way to ring in the New Year, which begs the question what’s he planning for 2021?

Don Jorgensen: Are you going to do any thing similar or what’s the goal?

Weston: I don’t know, do you want to try and do it again next year?

Jed: Yes, I want to.

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