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When Stan Anderson began participating in a viral internet challenge, he didn’t know that he would soon be raising $100,000 for local businesses. On Jan. 15, 2021, he declared that he would shoot for that goal through Venmo Challenge Racine. Now with the help and generosity of donors, $93,500 has been raised for the community so far. As of Jan. 18, 2022, $91,200 has already been gifted to restaurants, businesses, and community members in need.

How it all Began

Venmo Challenge Racine started with tips totaling $500 that Anderson left between Oh Dennis! Saloon & Charcoal House and Wells Brothers Italian Restaurant on the night of Anderson’s wife’s birthday. Since then, September 25, 2020, former Miss Racine 1987, Mary Purath Anderson, and her husband have been serving the county through this philanthropy. Anderson and his wife work as a team, collecting the donations as they come in.

The mission is simple: to live and to give. The hashtag Anderson often uses when posting online reflects it: #LiveAndGive. Over the past year, Anderson has taken to social media to ask the Racine community to support service workers. It’s easy to give and straight to the point.

People send in donations via Venmo, a money transferring app, or through other online payment avenues. He then compiles the donations to surprise businesses in the area with a large gift. 

Anderson, who is heavily involved in the community, decides where to give. He says when giving, “you’ve got to trust people,” and he knows people are “going to do what is best for their livelihood.”

Credit: Stan Anderson

COVID-19 Impact

Local businesses, bartenders, servers, and employees have been hit hard because of COVID-19. Their work has drastically changed because of precautionary measures, being infected, and the many other effects of the pandemic. Businesses have shut down, reduced hours, and transitioned to contactless services or modified their operations.

In addition, many have taken time off work or closed their doors when exposures arose. Employees are facing uncertainty. For many, their income is no longer steady. Due to COVID-19, this ongoing issue has been challenging Racine and the rest of the world, for over 2 years. But there’s hope, and it points to Venmo Challenge Racine.

“At the end of the day, this project has undeniably been rewarding because of the people I’ve connected with,” says Anderson. “People in Racine are great.”

Meeting the Mark

Credit: Stan Anderson

Throughout his time giving back, with help of donors, Venmo Challenge Racine has made an enormous impact on local area restaurants. But the work isn’t done yet. Anderson has plans to continue giving and meet that mark.

On the final give, Anderson states that he wants to have a celebration. The details are not released yet, but everyone who has helped make Venmo Challenge Racine the success that it has been is invited. Anderson is proud of what has happened in the community.

“It went from 2 weeks to flatten the curve and turned into 2 years,” says Anderson. During that time, Venmo Challenge Racine made a difference. Anderson describes the experience as “very humbling” and says that “everyone should feel proud.”

After $100,000 has been reached, he isn’t sure what the future will hold. Venmo Challenge Racine may take a different form, but as for now, Anderson’s focus is just to continue giving till the mark has been met.

Help Give

Want to help reach the goal?

  • Venmo: @marypanderson
    • Sometimes Venmo will ask for the last four digits of the person’s phone number to make sure the correct account has been selected. If asked, the last four digits are 1775.
  • Zelle: 2624981775
  • CASHAPP: $marypanderson67
  • Pick up payments
    • Contact Stan via Facebook to have your donation picked up

Even if you are unable to give at this time, follow along until the $100,000 is raised on Facebook and Instagram. Updates are made on where the next donations will be distributed and how much has been raised. For more information, contact Stan Anderson by texting or calling 414-313-3477.

Local News

Read more on the Racine County Eye. Have a story to share? Contact to connect with Emma Widmar.