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Wallingford area nonprofits to take part in 14th annual Great Give

WALLINGFORD — In only 36 hours, 11 area nonprofits will make a concerted effort to raise funds for their organizations as part of the 14th annual The Great Give, hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven.

The online-only campaign will run from Wednesday, May 3, at 8 a.m. through Thursday, May 4, at 8 p.m. Every year, community groups come together to raise money for resources for nonprofit organizations in the geater New Haven area. Last year, the event raised $3.46 million for a record 510 nonprofits. 

Jackie Downing, senior director of grantmaking and nonprofit support at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, said one of the first goals for this year’s event was to get more organizations involved and increase the number of Black and Latino-led nonprofits, many of which are small, grassroots organizations. Around 530 organizations are participating this year. 

The community-wide giving event aims to heighten awareness about nonprofits’ notable work to serve our local communities, she said. 

“There are nonprofits in every town, doing great work in every area you could possibly imagine,” Downing said. “And this is the day where we get to celebrate and highlight them. And folks who care about causes can give to a cause, give to a particular organization and elevate them.”

Multiple Wallingford nonprofit organizations are collaborating for the annual community fundraiser, reinforcing the “coming together” message. As part of the community engagement effort for grassroots donors, the representative acorn of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, gG, showcased at Wallingford locations, exemplifies how people can become involved.

In Wallingford, the 11 participating nonprofits are: Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater New Haven, Capital for Change, Gaylord Hospital, Masters Manna Inc., the Spanish Community of Wallingford, Soul Friends, the Record-Journal’s Latino Communities Reporting Lab with fiscal sponsor Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation, WPAA-TV, Wallingford Family YMCA, Wallingford Public Library and Connecticut Foodshare.

“Every nonprofit needs to get some funding from sources in the community, whether it’s foundations or corporate gifts, that kind of thing, that’s how they live,” said Susan Huizenga, volunteer executive director of WPAA-TV. “They live based on contributions. A lot of these larger contributions and larger project relationships they have for money are designated funds. So all of us could benefit by having a little bit of money that is a little more flexible.”

Three donors who give a minimum of $5 to each nonprofit, totaling only $55, will be eligible for a drawing for a gift bag valued at $100. Some items include a gift card to the pasta shop, “Passionately Pasta,” and an ARCY tiger mural design flash drive.

Huizenga said around three to four years ago, the minimum donation was $25. However, the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven dropped the minimum donation of $5 to be more inclusive of the communities the nonprofits serve. 

“People who received some sort of help from any one of (the nonprofit) organizations might be inspired and might be grateful and might be able to give $5 and then they could feel part of giving back where giving $25 would be typically out of their reach,” Huizenga said. “So, $5 makes the ability to connect with those people who’ve been served.”

The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven will hold drawings for other prizes during The Great Give. Community members who donate from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday increase the chances of a Wallingford nonprofit winning a random drawing of an additional $1,500. In addition, for donations from 8-9 a.m., one organization that gets at least one gift can win a $1,000 prize.

Donating between noon-2 p.m. increases the chance of a random nonprofit earning the $2,000 prize. The Great Give also provides an insomnia prize. Between 2-4 a.m., donors who make a gift to a nonprofit could win $1,000 for their organization.

“The price structure around it is a unique opportunity,” Downing said. “Any one organization can try to raise their funds from the people they know, but what we’re hoping through this is that people will go to thegreatgive.org to an organization that they know and believe in a favor, but then they’re also going to do some research, see who else is out there and give to someone new.”

Anyone can make an advance donation at www.thegreatgive.org/.

The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven also provides match money for nonprofit participants based on the number of donors, not the dollar amount. There are $221,000 in matches and prizes available, according to Downing.

“It’s a match based on the number of donors,” Downing said. “So a person who is making a gift of $5 because that’s all they can afford, but they believe so much in an organization that they want to, they will earn as much for the organization as the person who gives a $100 check. We think that builds equity; every donor is important. So we honor every donor with the same amount of match money.”

Motown, R&B concert

WPAA-TV is hosting a “Raise the Curtain on our Community” concert featuring the Motown and R&B band Le’Mixx on Sunday, April 30, at 6 p.m. to commence the online campaign. The show is courtesy of a CT Humanities Cultural Fund Grant. Donations earned on Wednesday from 8-9 p.m. will fund more free community concerts on WPAA-TV this year. In addition, a recording of the concert will be shown during the Bank of America Power Hour for Art on Wednesday, May 3, at 8 p.m.

“One of the reasons why they were selected was because they create a joyful experience,” Huizenga said. “And it’s like eight people coming together to create really good music … it’s a collective concept … and they’ve done a lot of charity work with Habitat for Humanity and other things. So that’s one of the reasons why they were picked to be part of this. You cannot listen to them and not want to dance bottom line.”

SCOW’s Happy Hour Fiesta

In addition, SCOW is hosting its annual Great Give Happy Hour Fiesta at Los Mariachis on 105 N Colony St. from 3-7 p.m. on May 3. Attendees can donate online, enjoy margaritas and participate in a tequila bottle raffle.

“When you donate to local organizations, your money stays in the community,” said Adriana Rodríguez, executive director at SCOW. “When you give to small organizations, the impact that your dollar has is much greater than if you donate to a large national organization. It’s more likely that person who donates to a small local agency will see the positive benefits of their investment.” 

Funds raised through The Great Give will help with social and immigration services, education, advocacy, translation and interpretation, as well as emergency basic necessities at SCOW, according to Rodríguez.

“The Great Give is important because it gives SCOW the opportunity to share with the general public, the wonderful programs and services that we provide to our clients,” Rodríguez said. “It gives the staff the opportunity to cheerlead for the organization. It also gives us the opportunity to raise unrestricted  funds to support our organization.”

The Great Give is the biggest fundraiser of the year for many organizations, so this is the one chance to support the organization, according to Downing. Most of the funds’ nonprofits earn go back to their organization and its people, not marketing and advertising. The Great Give event provides a platform for nonprofits to raise money for more resources and showcase their dedication to their community. 

“Nonprofits do so much in our community, and often it’s under the radar,” Downing said, “Often, they spend the resources that they’re given on direct service to their clients, their customers, and the people that they serve … They don’t spend a lot of money advertising to talk about the good work that they’re doing and the need for more resources to do that. So this event allows us at the Community Foundation and the Valley Community Foundation to talk about the nonprofits that are doing great work in our communities.”


Read more about the Wallingford organizations participating in The Great Give.

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