Sacramentans showed our nation where our heart is by tripling what seemed like an ambitious goal of $1 million to raise in 24 hours, giving instead an astounding $3,019,913 to local nonprofits on Tuesday’s BIG Day of Giving.
The $3 million amount blew everyone’s expectations away for the one-day online giving challenge that asked our city to support 400 of the nonprofits that work hard to create change and improve the lives of people in our community.
The BIG Day of Giving also hoped to see 5000 donors and 250k in matching funds raised prior to the event so that each dollar given could receive a financial boost. Sacramento exceeded those expectations as well by seeing over 18,000 donors give and $320k raised in matching funds.
“It’s incredible. It’s so exciting,” said Colin Blattel, Development Manager for City Year, a national nonprofit focused on helping stop the high school dropout crisis by providing student interventions in high-need schools. Blattel pointed out that all this comes from a city who has been told we give below the national average in charitable donations. “This is the day we say, ‘You know what? We’re stepping up. We believe in this community. We believe in surmounting all odds and defying what the status quo used to be.’…Today is about showing what Sacramento is about and showing how much we really care about giving and investing locally.”
And if pulling together $3+ million isn’t reason enough to be proud, consider this, Sacramento: we are #2 in the nation of cities who participated in their own Day of Giving on Tuesday. We’re passed up only by Sarasota, FL whose residents gave just over $100k more than us. The #3 giver is Charleston, SC at $2.5 million. Incredibly, the U.S. gave more than $53 million nationwide. While it’s amazing to see any amount given, it’s surprising at the same time to see how far Sacramento exceeded so many other cities—New York, Portland, Washington D.C., Dallas, Chicago, and Denver (to name a few) gave less than just $10,000. L.A. gave only $18k, but San Diego stepped it up with $922,000.
The fact that we gave so much points not only to the value we place on the immeasurable work nonprofits do, but also to the power of spreading excitement and awareness through social media and news outlets, not to mention the success of so many organizations and nonprofits collaborating together.
“It’s amazing to see so many nonprofits come together to try to raise the most amount of money possible and to really be supportive of one another,” said Katie McCleary, founder of 916 Ink, who promotes literacy and empowers youth through writing. “The energy this year is that we have banded together to say we are Sacramento and we have a thriving nonprofit community—let’s raise this money and be the best at it.”
And why is it so important to support nonprofits?
“Easy answer: It’s the right thing to do,” said Judy McGarry, Board Member for Volunteers of America, who provides over 40 human service programs in the Sacramento region, reaching vulnerable, homeless, abused, or endangered populations.
“The government can’t support all the nonprofits,” said another VoA Board Member, Kathryn Gaither. “It’s only by each one of us helping one person at a time that a difference is made in our community.”
Tuesday’s giving challenge also included a half-way-point event at noon at Fremont Park. The excitement and energy in the park was contagious in an atmosphere that included music, entertainment, food and farmer’s market vendors, a 30-foot digital board providing live donation updates, and a showing hundreds of people. 25 nonprofit organizations came out eager to share what they’re all about and to spread their enthusiasm for what was reaching $1.5 million in donations at noon.
“It’s huge. I’m just amazed. Sacramento is really stepping up,” said Davida H.M. Douglas, Executive Director of Alchemist, a nonprofit who focuses on providing better access to healthy foods and farmer’s markets to communities in need of such.
Echoing the same amazement was Ron Cunningham, Artistic Director of the Sacramento Ballet, the city’s top earner on Tuesday with $91,776. He also emphasized the importance of recognizing the contribution nonprofits. “Nonprofits really give back to the city. It’s the lifeblood for so many different communities,” he said.
Cunningham additionally pointed to Sacramento’s reputation of giving charitably below the national average, as discussed in the Greater Sacramento Generosity Project.
“I think it’s events like these that are going to change that,” Cunningham said in reaction to the day that challenged the statistics. “It makes Sacramento aware of what all the nonprofits do—from the arts to the social services—and how much they contribute to the community. I think it’s a wake up call for many people. And once we do, I think we’ll be leading that Generosity Project.”
So be proud, Sacramento. And let’s continue proving the statistics wrong. Give anytime of the year and learn more about the diverse and good work our nonprofits do at www.givelocalnow.org or at GivingEdge, the region’s first comprehensive nonprofit database.