The Ocean First Foundation is creating excitement among scores of local charities in Ocean and Monmouth Counties through its first ever crowd fundraising competition.

The Ocean First Charity Challenge, also known as the Crowd Rise Challenge, gets area nonprofits to raise money through grassroots efforts online, and the charity that raises the most, win's a $10,000 grant from Ocean First Foundation on top of whatever they raise, according to Executive Director Kathy Durante.

Second and third place winners also get grants in lesser amounts and all the charities get an opportunity to win weekly bonus prizes until the competition ends.

Durante said there are several reasons why they decided to host this challenge. "A lot of the nonprofits are always looking for new ways to raise money. Our community obviously has been impacted greatly by Sandy and resources are harder to come by. So this is just an opportunity to try something different," she explained.

The Ocean First Foundation has also marked a milestone giving it another reason to celebrate with this challenge. "And that is that we have surpassed $25 million dollars in giving to local nonprofits during our history which really dates back to 1992," Durante said.

The competition launched on Monday, April 14th at 12:00pm ET and runs through Friday, May 9th at 11:59:59pm ET. You see who's competing, donate to your favorite local charity and see who's in the lead at the Ocean First Foundation web site.