A campaign to raise money for Alaska schools along the Iditarod Trail gathered over $100,000 in pledges since March 7.

The Igivearod is a "loosely-organized, volunteer-directed, fundraising drive" that took place in tandem with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, though the two are not affiliated.  

A news release from spokesperson Shannon Cole states the group raised $103,601 by the time the final musher, rookie Victoria Hardwick, crossed beneath the burled arch Monday by connecting donors to school and community projects across Alaska.

According to the group, the money will go toward 121 projects listed on DonorsChoose.org and GoFundMe.com, including safety upgrades for schools, field trips, sports uniforms, iPads and more.

The campaign got its start part-way through the 2019 Iditarod, when a group of mushing enthusiasts on Twitter, known as the #UglyDogs, saw a KTVA story about students in Nikolai using the race both for learning and to raise money for their class trip to Southcentral. Within 24 hours, a GoFundMe page was created and the goal far surpassed. The school principal in Nikolai said they had to shut the site down because it was getting so much money.

Though started by the #UglyDogs group and inspired by accomplished authors and mushers Blair Braverman and Quince Mountain, the Igivearod campaign is open to all. Kindness sparked by the first project spread across the state, as donations — many for $11, in reference to Braverman's 2019 Iditarod bib number — racked up.

Blair Braverman makes it to Nome.

 

Braverman finished in 36th place on Saturday.

On its new website, the Igivearod group states, "The original Iditarod run was about helping kids in Alaska, and we're proud to be a little piece of that legacy."

Donors also gave to the Iditarod Trail Committee, as well as Iditarod competitors and volunteers. Instead of cash, some sent "mushergrams" — words of encouragement and pizzas — to mushers along the trail.

As for the future, members of the group say there are plans to revamp the Igivearod next year, but the website says what's next is in the works. Until then, those interested can follow the dedicated Twitter account @Igivearod.

Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.

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