The ACLU of Minnesota got about $19,500 in gifts on Give to the Max Day in 2015.
This year that number quadrupled – to $81,340.53, the 10th-highest figure for any non-profit that took part in the annual fundraiser, and an "unprecedented" amount for the organization, Legal Director Teresa Nelson told GoMN.
Look even higher up the leaderboard and you'll see Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota South Dakota at No. 2 overall with $220,230.75 (which doesn't include about $18,000 the group got from a separate, back-up donation site).
In 2015 they got about $145,000 total.
"We are completely blown away by the generosity of the community," Jennifer Aulwes, a spokesperson for the three-state Planned Parenthood group, told GoMN.
So what's the difference? Donald Trump.
New support for civil liberties and women's health groups
"Since the day after the election we have seen increased support in memberships – people joining, people liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter – and I really do think that it is based on concern about what the president-elect campaign promises have been," Nelson said. "They’re troubling for civil liberties. And so I think people are concerned, they really care about these issues, and they want to be part of the solution.”
And it's exactly what Aulwes pointed too as well.
"We’ve seen a number of outpourings of support from the community [since the election]," she said. "And I think this Give to the Max Day and the response that Planned Parenthood received is another example of that."
The surge in support that both regional organizations have seen mirrors what's been happening nationally with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9, which The Atlantic wrote about.
Trump, during his campaign, has suggested the U.S. needs to be tougher on crime – including surveillance and more profiling of Muslims – and also scrutinize police less. And he's generally supported widespread listening-in on phone calls and other communications.
"You know we’re troubled like everybody else about what’s coming up in the future, and what gains that civil liberties has made might get undone in the future," Nelson said.
As for Planned Parenthood,Trump has repeatedly said he'd look to appoint an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court, and said groups that do abortions shouldn't get tax money (even though he used to support abortion choices). But he's also lauded Planned Parenthood and said they do "wonderful things" for women's health.
"I think it really speaks to the fact that, since the presidential election, people are really very concerned about women’s health, and about Planned Parenthood patients in particular. And they want to make sure that this is a resource that they’re protecting," Aulwes said of the huge donation figure Thursday.
And that interest was there even before Give to the Max Day.
Aulwes said generally they get about 10 applications a week from people who want to volunteer. In the week directly following the election (so through Tuesday, Nov. 15) they'd gotten 500 volunteer applications – which she called "an unprecedented and tremendous showing of support."
The ACLU of Minnesota, which like Planned Parenthood has taken part in Give to the Max Day before, expected an increase this year. But four times as much?
"I don’t think anybody anticipated an increase of this dimension," Nelson said, later adding: "It’s comforting to know that people are coming forward and saying, We want to help you, we want to help you fight to keep civil liberties moving forward and not backward."