Jennifer Hodge, founder of the grassroots -giveNNY program, speaks on air with DJ Mykel "Quince" Myrick of at Tunes 92.5 FM about -giveNNY's "315Day" campaign, which culminated with a day of radio broadcast on Monday, March 15. Provided photo

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

Four years ago, a community-based, grassroots effort to unite local nonprofit organizations in a day of giving was launched. Inspired by the global generosity movement of Giving Tuesday, Jennifer Hodge of the Volunteer Transportation Center and a steering committee have continued to lead the endeavor that has raised dollars to support the valuable services participating charities provide.

In keeping with its founding principles, the -giveNNY campaign returned this year after pausing during the height of the pandemic in 2020. In the largest show of collaboration yet, 61 nonprofit organizations serving communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties signed on to be part of 315Day, on March 15, throughout the 315 area code. The Northern New York Community Foundation’s history of investing in looking at ways to make every dollar go further and encouraging nonprofit organizations, including our own, to look for appropriate efficiencies makes this a perfect fit.

As it had done in 2019, the Community Foundation helped host and pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations received, strengthening the power of giving and showing that everyone can support their community with any size gift.

From human services to health and wellness, arts and culture, conservation and environment, history, education, children and families, animal welfare, youth development, elder services, and recreation, nonprofits participating represented a wide range of unique missions that collectively strengthen the region and make Northern New York special. While the numbers are impressive, the real story is what organizations can do with the support they receive and how the impact is realized locally, thanks to the support of the community that loves them.

More than ever before, the commitment of nonprofits to support a broad effort of giving affirmed what we already know. The charitable organizations throughout our region are led and supported by those who recognize the value and importance of the greater good and the need to share, network and stand by each other. Combined forces raised additional funds through bottle and can drives, a spaghetti dinner, a moonlight snowshoe, gift baskets, and T-shirt sales. Each organization spread the word through social media before and during a 12-hour live broadcast on Tunes 92.5 and a livestream on NBC Watertown. Business leadership sponsors and media partners came forward to help ensure greater success. Donors rose to the occasion. All will be formally acknowledged in future Community Foundation publications.

In my 15 years in the nonprofit world, I have never seen such an outpouring of togetherness and commitment to the greater good, a feeling that combined the diverse work, missions, and geography in such a powerful statement of teamwork and cooperation. This is something that supporters of these organizations should take note of. It is surely something the Community Foundation felt compelled to partner on. Each of the participating organizations could have devoted this time to raise funds and awareness solely for themselves. In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, it could very well be justified. However, the 61 organizations made an even greater statement by their involvement. Donors who supported this campaign validated that spirit of unity.

The participants demonstrated kindness, caring and support, all the same things they ask others to have toward them. New opportunities for future collaboration have most certainly been formed. The match was exceeded with funding for diverse nonprofit organizations addressing local needs and working hard every day to serve our region. We are filled with gratitude. Come to think of it, given all that we’ve been through together during the last year, maybe this is just what the doctor ordered.

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