If there's ever a debate about the generosity of Montanans, it could be settled quickly by showing the results from the 26th annual KYSSMAS for Kids, which broke the $50,000 threshold for the first time in history.

That's the amazing news a week after the annual auction and fundraiser took over the KYSS airwaves for 13 hours last week. 

Once the final numbers were tallied on Thursday, the results were astonishing, pushing far beyond the initial total to just over $51,000 and totally eclipsing the previous record of $47,000 that was set several years ago. The increase was followed not only by larger donations but unexpected individual gifts, sometimes for more than $2,000.

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A lofty goal following the pandemic

"Crossing the $50,000 threshold was a goal. It was a lofty goal," said Townsquare General Manager Scott Richman. "I think we had said if we hit forty-five we'd be happy." 

Richman noted that makes for a big lift next year, but he's hopeful because of people that are now involved in the traditional effort. It also marks a strong comeback from the impacts of the pandemic, which made it very difficult to raise funds. 

This year, KYSSMAS organizers were helped tremendously by the technical expertise behind the scenes by Watson Children's Shelter, which became the financial processing partner for the event. That generous gift of a sophisticated website was a tremendous help in processing all of the donations and auction bids in the days following the broadcast. 

Mark Roberts, Executive Director of Watson Children's Center, said his agency was very excited to be asked to help out and was "thrilled" to be a supporter of the effort. 

But more than all of the dollars and digital accomplishment, the record total means that nearly 600 children through 20 different organizations in the Missoula area will be given gift cards which they can then use for gifts, and not just for themselves. Frequently, we've seen kids actually use most of their KYSSMAS gift cards to purchase gifts for their parents and siblings. 

And every year, we hear stories about what a life-changing moment that is for the kids, who frequently come back and donate to KYSSMAS in subsequent years as they grow up. 

Most of all, we want to thank you, our generous KYSS listeners, as well as those from our sister radio stations in the Townsquare Media group in Missoula, for opening your hearts, hearing our appeals for assistance, and making Christmas 2022 very, very special for the kids, and their families. 

Now, as KYSSMAS volunteer coordinator Bill Samsoe said after hearing about the record on Friday,  we have 51 weeks to raise $51,000 for next year! 

And with your help, we know we can do it. 

Behind the scenes of KYSSMAS for Kids in Missoula

It takes a lot of people to raise $51,000 in one day

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