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HUGE Improv Theater's comedy marathon seeks to lure donors

'Round about Hour 17, when an audience member shouts out a suggestion to do Elvis in a laundromat on Mars, Butch Roy might reconsider whether a 24-hour marathon of improv comedy was such a good idea.

But probably not. The co-founder and executive director of HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis says he's excited about the upcoming event, part of Give to the Max Day — the annual daylong charity fest that has nonprofits throughout Minnesota tingling in anticipation like a fat man walking into an Old Country Buffet.

This year's event takes place Wednesday, Nov. 16, starting at 12:01 a.m. and running until midnight. For more information, go here

"We were trying to figure out how to maximize the one day and also have fun with it," said Roy, who founded HUGE six years ago with four other improv artists and moved into a permanent space in Uptown late last year.


"I may eat my words, but I'm pretty optimistic about my abilities. I got my degree in animation, so I've had my experience with marathons of dedicated, weird creative time."

Give to the Max Day is the creation of GiveMN, a group formed with the mission of helping Minnesota nonprofits raise more money online. The idea is that they'll reach a larger audience and spend less on fundraising expenses, allowing more of their donations to go toward direct services. GiveMN is active all year long, but Give to the Max Day has quickly become the organization's signature event.

Last year, nearly 43,000 donors gave more than $10 million to 3,600 participating nonprofits during the 24-hour event. The pot will be sweetened this year with more than $1.2 million in matching funds for donations made during the day. Random $1,000 gifts awarded every hour throughout the day add to the excitement.

This is the first year that HUGE has planned an event for Give to the Max Day. Roy said the availability of matching grants makes participation in Give to the Max Day a kind of donor service.

"We have such an amazing base of donors and supporters, and we find that people very much respond to a chance to increase their donation," he said. "Give to the Max Day is an opportunity to tell our donors that every dollar they give that day will have more impact than if they give yesterday or tomorrow. They're already giving, so it's our chance to help them give more."

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