Our Community Foundation has seen amazing displays of generosity when like-minded donors join together to give to causes they hold near and dear to their hearts. And it’s not always through headline-making major gifts. Often, it’s everyday donors with a passion coming together to support shared causes, and the small gifts add up quickly.
Take our 100+ Women Who Care event for example, what started in 2011 as a giving circle of 100 charitably-minded women giving $100 each has grown to nearly 300 women giving $100 each and a total of $125,000 that has been granted back into our community. These 100+ women have impacted 26 local nonprofits over the past 10 years in grant amounts of up to $10,000.
More recently our like-minded donors expanded through the addition of our Minority Philanthropy Initiative (MPI) to empower the philanthropic voices of our friends and neighbors who are people of color and to show the power of collective giving with an even more diverse and inclusive population from our region. The MPI event joined over 100 like-minded donors in an evening showcasing and celebrating several cultures and together granting $12,000 to three local nonprofits.
One of our charitable funds that have rallied hundreds of community members in collective giving is our Blue Water Area Fallen Heroes Banner Program. This fund honors the 580 local service members who died in service to our country from World War I to the gulf war. Support for the banners that hang in many of our local downtowns before and through Memorial Day has added up to over $62,000. Gifts that ranged from $25 to several hundred dollars have been used to create, maintain and store the banners as well as future funding to ensure that the stories of those who served are documented.
There are so many other examples I could share, from our past Big Give days to many of our endowment funds that have grown over the years thanks to collective giving. But the last example I want to share is about watching our community rally together over the past two years. Record numbers of small to medium-size donors increased their giving and joined us in supporting our local nonprofits, frontline workers and businesses during COVID. Collective giving helped us to provide masks before they were readily available, kept our nonprofits operating as best they could to continue to serve our vulnerable populations, to the nearly 60,000 meals delivered to frontline workers at hospitals all over our region. The power of collective giving during the pandemic came from over 2,000 gifts in 2020 and over 4,000 gifts in 2021.
We have watched collective giving driving change and being a way that more and more community members can play a part in giving back while creating not just immediate impact but being part of long-term impact in our hometowns. Like a savings account that you diligently put dollars into, these collective giving dollars compound over time and make a significant difference for our community. Never underestimate the power of your dollars when put with the dollars of other like-minded donors.
I couldn’t be more proud of our Community Foundation donor base continuing to expand to more community members with diverse and unique perspectives and different lived experiences through collective giving. All donors giving gifts of all sizes are helping us make a more vibrant and prosperous community.
Watch for new Foundation Insights each month discussing various philanthropic topics.