The sixth annual Give NOLA Day, a 24-hour philanthropic marathon for nonprofits in the New Orleans region, seemed on track to surpass or at least match last year's fundraising effort as the event entered its final hours Tuesday evening.

More $4.3 million had been raised by 6:30 p.m., with 5½ hours left for the Greater New Orleans Foundation to meet its goal of raising $6 million before the clock struck midnight.

The foundation's CEO, Andy Kopplin, said he was optimistic about meeting the goal.

"We’re ahead of where we were last year," Kopplin said about 7 p.m., adding that the day usually "finishes strong."

"I continue to be overwhelmed and inspired by the generosity of the people of this region," he said.

Kopplin described the event as the biggest day of the year for many of the nonprofits in the region; several see a sizable percentage of their annual fundraising goals reached in one day.

Last year, the event raised $5.6 million.

GiveNOLA Day is affiliated with the national Give Local America and is intended to raise money for hundreds of local nonprofits in a single day. The event features more than 740 participating nonprofits from 13 parishes in southeast Louisiana.

Last year, about a third of the gifts were of $10, the minimum amount allowed on the fundraising site, and the average donation was less than $100, Kopplin said.

"It's really about everybody being able to become a philanthropist and a supporter of these organizations," he said. "Those $10 donations really do add up."

By 6:30 p.m., the Ogden Museum of Southern Art had garnered the largest amount in donations, taking in more than $299,700. 

The top fundraiser among so-called small-budget organizations was the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, taking in more than $67,340 by Tuesday evening. The small-budget organization with the most donors was Youth Run NOLA, with about 420 individuals giving more than $20,290.

Donors could also opt to give to the Lagniappe Fund, which got the most unique donations by Tuesday evening, with 3,620 individuals giving. Its proceeds are distributed proportionally to all participating nonprofits based on the total amount raised.

Louise S. McGehee School reaped the second-highest number of donations, with more than 745 people giving more than $138,700 by 6:30 p.m.

Last year, the event featured a Give NOLA festival staged at Lee Circle starring Irma Thomas and the Soul Rebels. This year, the foundation decided to expand its outreach in other parishes by hosting a handful of events leading up to GiveNOLA Day, according to spokesman Tyronne Walker.

On May 1, the foundation co-hosted an event with Wednesdays at the Square, a free music festival held on several Wednesday afternoons every year at Lafayette Square.

Officials promoted Give NOLA Day in Jefferson Parish on Thursday, at the Lafreniere Park Live Spring Concert Series.

And Monday evening, the foundation held a small rally with about 25 local nonprofits in St. Tammany Parish at Abita Springs Brewery.

Give NOLA Day started in 2013 with 309 organizations participating. More than $2 million was raised that year.

"New Orleanians are some of the most generous people around," Kopplin said. "We know what it's like to be in need."

On Tuesday, Demetric Mercadel represented Entergy, the event's largest sponsor at $50,000, as she toured the nonprofit Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans City Park.

"It's really important to continue to build back the greater New Orleans area," Mercadel said. "So many nonprofits do a great service to this community."


Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.