WATERTOWN — Following a hiatus in 2020, 61 organizations joined to participate in the 2021 #giveNNY campaign, a local effort that unites tri-county nonprofits in a day of giving.
This year, the day of giving took place Monday for “315Day,” but donations to the effort will be accepted through the end of the month. The campaign, returning for its fourth year, kicked off Feb. 15. Nonprofits in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties were invited to participate as campaign partners.
Like it did in 2019, the Northern New York Community Foundation pledged support to the #giveNNY campaign this year, committing $10,000 to match gifts made during the effort. Participating organizations will benefit through an equal share of gifts made to the campaign awarded as grants from the foundation.
While the foundation is still tallying campaign fundraising and reconciling expenses, fundraising efforts this year successfully secured the $10,000 matching grant the foundation offered, according to Kenneth J. Eysaman, director of communications for the foundation. He noted that before expenses are subtracted, which include some advertising and promotion, the total is already nearly $40,000 with the matching grant, with time to bring in more donations before the month ends.
“We have seen some collaborations occur among nonprofits that transcend fundraising,” Mr. Eysaman said. “This effort is bigger than money. It’s been very inspirational for us; as a leader in the nonprofit community, we take a lot of pride in bringing nonprofits together.”
Mr. Eysaman went on to explain that the participating organizations are learning more about each other and about ways they can work together to strengthen their individual missions, but strengthen them in ways that are a little bit less competitive — not all about the money. The sharing of talents, skills and education are the things that are going to make the local nonprofit community stronger, alongside the money, he said.
In 2019, the campaign raised just about $25,000, which included a $10,000 matching gift that the foundation put toward it.
An online giving portal remains open for donors at nnycf.org. Gifts may also be mailed to 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601. A final total of donations and expenses, which will enable to foundation to calculate the amount of the grants that each participating organization will receive will be announced after the entire fundraising campaign ends on March 31.
“We’ve seen some great successes this year, and I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out,” said Jennifer Cross-Hodge, development director and corporate compliance officer at the Volunteer Transportation Center and founder of #giveNNY. “A lot of our nonprofits are small. Not everybody has an HR director, not everybody has a purchasing agent, but if you can share those resources across nonprofits, everybody comes out a winner. That is what this is all about.”
Agencies that came together to support their work in the north country include, but are not limited to, ACR Health, Disabled Persons Action Organization, Indian River Lakes Conservancy, Massena Meals on Wheels, North Country Family Health Center, Potsdam Holiday Fund, St. Lawrence County Arts Council, United Way of NNY, Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County and the Wanakena Historical Association.
April Fallon, marketing and community relations director for the North Country Family Health Center, one of the 61 participating organizations serves on the #giveNNY Steering Committee, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the cause since its inception in 2017. Internally, she challenged staff at the health center to help raise money, so they sold $5 chances to win a $100 gift card, raising almost $300 to be contributed to the campaign.
Typically, what the health center does with this particular grant from the past few years is put it into its unmet needs program, which care coordinators use to help people with any service or any item that they can’t get. Things like helping new moms with new baby supplies like diapers and food, to buying new mattresses for people, to gas cards for people to get to and from appointments.
“I think overall, it was pretty amazing that we were able to include all three counties this year, and pretty amazing that 61 nonprofits stuck with the event and really participated this year,” Ms. Fallon said. “Between all 61 nonprofits, we all have different knowledge base so we can help each other.”
#giveNNY sponsors this year included Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Jake Johnson Properties, NBT Bank, Sundance Leisure, Watertown Savings Bank, Amy Kenney Team-Keller Williams NNY, Carthage Area Hospital, St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union, Wratten’s RV, Downtown Julie Brown, On the Hill Excavation, Independent Commercial Contractors Inc., Sweeney Productions and Massey Ranch.
“We’re so grateful to all of the folks in the community who were either nonprofit partners or financial sponsors of the program this year,” Mrs. Cross-Hodge said. “We received a tremendous amount of support and showing from the folks around our local area who see the benefit of the nonprofits who really are the heartbeat of our area.”