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Community Give nets more than $500,000 in donations

Local nonprofits picked up more than $500,000 in a single day during the region’s first 24-hour fundraising marathon.

The Community Give provided an online megaphone for 115 local nonprofits, giving them a chance to market their cause and raise money. The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region sponsored the event, which began at midnight on Monday and continued through midnight Tuesday.

The Community Give took place on the same day as a national campaign to bring more awareness to nonprofits. Locally, The Community Give netted $544,481.

A variety of groups participated, hoping to get money for education, hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, the arts, history, animal rescue and more.

Empowerhouse led the event, raising $80,068. The domestic-violence agency got an additional $10,000 as a reward for being the top fundraiser.

A little more than half of the money will go toward expanding the agency’s shelter for people fleeing domestic violence. The rest of the money will help Empowerhouse meet a rising need for services, Director Kathy Anderson said.

“Our staff and volunteers are stretched thin to meet the need,” Anderson said. “We are inspired by the strength demonstrated by the survivors of domestic violence braving difficult conditions to achieve their goals of ending abuse in their lives and we work hard to ensure resources are available through our programming to meet their needs.”

The energy of The Community Give provided a new resource for meeting needs, she said. The Community Foundation offered participating nonprofits several training sessions focused on marketing and social media.

After the training, nonprofits took to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to plead their cases. Hope House, a homeless shelter for women and children, released a video to the hit song “Happy,” celebrating the agency’s success in getting families into permanent housing.

At Empowerhouse, the board of directors embraced the giving marathon, and many took the day off to promote the agency on social media and to keep up with the donations throughout the entire event. They posted regular updates on Facebook, asking people to help the agency meet its fundraising goal.

“A lot of donors were motivated to give because they are aware of the destruction left in the wake of domestic violence or the danger abuse poses,” Anderson said. “They know we do a lot with very little. They would like to make an impact and promote change through their support.”

The Community Foundation set an initial goal of $100,000 for the entire event. By noon, donations were at $300,000. To motivate donors throughout the day, the event featured Golden Ticket awards. Each hour, any nonprofit that received at least one donation of $25 or more qualified for the award. And the awards showed the variety of nonprofits involved—Golden Tickets winners included St. Vincent de Paul, Sunshine Ballpark, Stafford Junction, SERVE, Meadowview Biological Research Station, the Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation, Artful Dimensions Gallery, the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank and Stage Door Productions.

SERVE, a nonprofit offering food and financial help, came in second place in total money raised. The agency picked up $29,908 from 49 donations.

And the Rappahannock Area YMCA came in third, raising $24,541 from 348 donors.

Each of the top three fundraisers won cash prizes, which were donated for the event.

“We created The Community Give to increase and expand charitable giving in our region and we could not be more pleased with the results,” said John McManus, board president of The Community Foundation. “We are grateful to the nonprofits who mobilized social media and grassroots communications to make this event a great success and to the many, many individuals who supported them by clicking and giving online.”

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973

aumble@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2014/05/07/community-give-nets-more-than-500000-in-donations/

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