Amplify Austin starts, more than $2 million pledged

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin charities are trying to raise more than $4 million in 24 hours.

Amplify Austin started Thursday at 6 p.m.  The event encourages central Texans to support nearly 500 charities in the area.

Even before the effort started, executive director of I Live Here, I Give Here Tom Spencer said contributors scheduled more than $1 million in donations to non-profits.

“[We’re] quite literally blown away from the generosity we’re seeing right now,” said Spencer.

During the event’s first year in 2013, organizers set a goal of $1 million. Donors contributed nearly $2.8 million.

This year’s goal: $4 million.

The Texas regional office for the National Center for Missing and Exploited children held a fundraising effort Thursday.

“As a survivor of child sex trafficking and child pornography, this is an issue that’s very close to my heart,” said Brooke Axtell. “I was trafficked as a child in Dallas Texas at the age of 7.”

Brooke says it started with a male nanny while her mom was in the hospital.

“It’s been part of my healing process to be an advocate for children who are currently still experiencing this incredible abuse,” Brooke said.

She’s trying to help the regional office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children raise money.

“[The money] is going to fund our Texas Regional Office’s efforts to provide prevention services. All of the money that’s donated tonight will stay in Texas,” said Andrea Sparks, executive director for the NCMEC regional office.

As of about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had 70 donations, totaling $16,596.

Spencer says more than 40 business fundraisers are participating in Amplify Austin this year, roughly tripling the number from last year.

Donors can contribute to the charity or charities they choose, much like shopping online. They choose which charities they want to support, how much to donate, and then check out.

Users can also set up fundraising pages.

The event runs from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday.

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