KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new record was set for the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont on Giving Tuesday. The total amount of donations received surpassed its previous Giving Tuesday record by nearly $20,000.

In total, Tremont received over $72,000 in donations from community members. This money will go to helping the nonprofit to support its mission of connecting people with nature. More than 110 people gave to Tremont on Giving Tuesday, with donations ranging from $5 to $10,000.

“We are honored and humbled by the response from our community,” said President & CEO Catey McClary. “These gifts affirm that the work we do each day makes a difference in people’s lives. When we see both $10 and $10,000 donations coming in together, it shows us that we are reaching a wide network of supporters, and that matters to us.”

Tremont Institute is an environmental education center within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For over 50 years, the nonprofit has offered immersive programs for children and adults to help them connect with others and nature. In 2022, over 3,000 people attended programs on their campus.

The donations received will support Tremont’s new GO Fund, which supports all of the areas of the institute’s work. The funds can be used for financial assistance for campers and school groups, tools and materials to keep facilities safe, meals for guests, training and development for staff, and other initiatives.

“The whole day was a celebration,” said Development Manager Megan Womack, who hosted live streams on Tremont’s social media pages from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. “We wanted people to feel like they were back at Tremont appreciating the wonder of nature and enjoying the amazing community around them.”

Ahead of the day, Womack secured $25,000 in matching funds from a couple of anonymous donors. The institute also encouraged annual donors to make their gifts on Giving Tuesday to leverage the matches while driving momentum.

“Every donation is appreciated,” said McClary. “Each gift is a reminder that the work we do at Tremont sticks. When we help connect people with nature, the effects are positive and long-lasting.”

Tremont is also in the process of building a second campus in Townsend. To learn more about Tremont, visit gsmit.org/donate.