What's a little competition among friends? Or, at least, a little friendly competition between neighbors?

The Harmony Area Community Foundation has issued a fundraising challenge to the Rushford Community Foundation for Give to the Max Day contributions on Nov. 14.

When Vicky Tribon, president of the Harmony Area Community Foundation, heard about last year's challenge between Preston and Spring Valley, she knew she wanted to try the same kind of challenge for the local foundation. She visited with Sheila Craig, a board member of the Preston Area Community Foundation and became even more excited about the possibility of issuing a challenge to another neighboring foundation. She contacted Jennifer Hengel, president of the Rushford group and suggested the competition between the two communities. Hengel took the idea back to her board and, a few weeks later, told Tribon they had accepted the challenge.

The friendly little competition will urge local residents in Harmony and Rushford to make donations to their respective foundations during the fourth annual Give to the Max Day, a statewide initiative of Minnesota's nonprofit organizations. On that day, Minnesotans are encouraged to give to their favorite charities at GiveMN.org during the 24 hours of Nov. 14. Last year's Give to the Max Day was considered one of the most successful one-day online fundraising drives in history.

In 2012, Give to the Max Day inspired more than 53,000 donors from Minnesota and beyond to give $16.3 million. Donations last year reached nearly 4,400 organizations across the state. GiveMN.org has raised more than $75 million since it began four years ago.

The winning community will receive a special prize for its local school district and the local community will be presented that prize during a home basketball game between Fillmore Central and Rushford sometime this winter.

Although a winner and loser may be designated in this contest, in reality it will be a win-win situation as people in both communities will benefit in the end from the funds raised during this friendly competition.

Both Tribon and Hengel felt the rivalry aspect of this will be a fun way to reach out to alumni and community members. Even those people living out of town will likely remember the days when Harmony and Rushford-Peterson battled on the playing field and indoor courts with dominance shifting back and forth over the years. Those memories combined with this initiative may spur them to contribute to the communities that shaped their early lives.

The rivalry between the foundations is truly friendly. The Harmony Area Community Foundation started in 2012. The Rushford Community Foundation was started in the late 1990s.

The two foundations have similar goals, however, which are to promote civic engagement and provide opportunities to enhance the quality of life by creating community partnerships.

For those interested in participating in the Give to the Max Day challenge, log into www.givemn.org and in the upper right corner type in the community foundation you wish to support. Use your credit or debit card to donate securely. You will receive an email with your tax receipt. A total of 100 percent of the contributions go directly to fund local causes.

The online site keeps track of donations during the day and an ongoing tally will be available to view. By the end of the 24 hours, the foundation with the most money raised will be declared a winner.

During this special day, GiveMN also provides incentives to encourage participation. In addition to prize grants for the top nonprofit organizations, every hour an individual donor will be randomly chosen to receive an additional $1,000 given to the charity that received the donor's original donation. In addition to the incentives called golden tickets, a larger golden ticket will be randomly given at 11:59 p.m.

However competitive the giving gets, the end result is the lives of people in all the communities will be enriched through the contributions to the foundations, which use the donations to address the needs of the communities.

The Harmony foundation has contributed grants to projects such as the Selvig Park playground, the JEM Theatre digital projection project and contributing funds for the Fillmore Central laptop computers.

The Rushford foundation has recently contributed money toward scholarships for Rushford-Peterson seniors, the Chamber's lighted Christmas tree, the development of a safe busing plan for the school and the development of the school's new website.

This unusual competition that pits the Falcons and former Cardinals versus the Trojans and former Peterson Tigers may last just one day, but the track record of the two foundations shows that the results will last far longer as they continue to support their respective communities.