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Philanthropic Hero Biographies

Hazleton, Pennsylvania

Matthew Nonnemacher is an 11 year old boy who in 1997, decided to work with his local United Way to launch "A Million Ways to Care," a one million penny-drive in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Generated by a homework question of, "If you had any wish, what would you wish for?," Matthew set his mind to collect one million pennies for the local poor. In conjunction with Make A Difference Day, local schools were contacted and canisters for pennies were placed in businesses and organizations throughout the Hazelton community, eventually collecting 1.8 million pennies ($18,000).

Matthew has expressed that he would someday like to be a priest. But rather than wait to help people, he wanted "to help them now." Matthew is ensuring that the money he has raised is used so that the poor can have "food, clothing and a home."

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