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Northland Steps Up: ‘Virtual Duluth’ Facebook group launches fundraiser for local non-profits

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DULUTH, MN -- "Virtual Duluth was started basically at the start of the 'Stay at Home' order," said Virtual Duluth creator Matt Dressel.

Dressel launched the Facebook page with a very narrow focus.

"It's a chance for artists and businesses to do Facebook Live events and get exposure for their work," said Dressel.

And the page has accomplished that goal in a big way, attracting 5,600 members in a short amount of time.

But with that popularity comes a feeling of responsibility.

"Today I started something new on Virtual Duluth where we're going to highlight a non-profit in the area," said Dressel. "Basically just a call for the community to donate to a specific non-profit."

And there will be a different non-profit spotlighted every week.

The very first is AICHO.

"I think it's an honor to get spotlighted. We've been doing this work for a long time, and often times we're not spotlighted," said AICHO Programming Director Daryl Olson.

Olson says all non-profits need help now, as they help an increasing number of people.

"We serve hundreds of individuals, homeless families and children," said Olson. "So anything raised will directly go to them, especially during this pandemic."

The creator of Virtual Duluth, creating a new form of fundraising during this unprecedented time.

"I kind of pitch it as $5 every week, and every week we're basically just going to bombard these non-profits," said Dressel.

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Dan Wolfe

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