You can learn a lot about someone watching how they spend time and money. With the constant pulls of work, family, hobbies, and kids, they’re precious—all too finite—resources. Local non-profit organizations use every last drop of both to help those in need, with boots on the ground in every city, region and neighborhood. Thanks to the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound’s annual Give Local campaign, donations stretch further and countless lives benefit from your generosity. Donate Now
The Foundation has a simple mission: “To inspire philanthropic efforts that enrich our communities. The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound manages charitable gifts from individual donors and businesses. The proceeds from these funds generate grants and scholarships today, while preserving resources for tomorrow’s community priorities.”
But encouraging people to give, even to causes they admire, sometimes takes a little nudge. “We are grateful to live among generous people, but we know this is a tradition that requires constant nurturing,” says Philanthropic Services and Programs Director, Mindie Reule. “So, in 2017, we found a way to grow our philanthropic tradition, and to make it more inclusive.”
This is how Give Local came into being. “Our goal was to invite more people into philanthropy,” says Reule. “We recognized that the impact of many small donations can rival that of some of our largest and most prosperous donors, and that many young people who start with small donations will, later in their lives, become larger donors. We also wanted to broaden and deepen the habit of giving across every sector of Lewis, Mason and Thurston counties. And of course, we wanted to reach out to an internet-connected generation that is far more likely to give online than by writing a check.”
From November 6 through 21, contributions to the fund are combined, increased, and eventually distributed amongst organizations in Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties that have been reviewed and vetted by Foundation staff. “We started Give Local in 2017,” Reule explains. “In that first year, 50 non-profits participated and raised $165,000. In 2018, 75 non-profits participated and raised $310,463. With more than 90 participating non-profits this year, our goals for 2019 are 1,500 donations totaling $375,000.”
Thanks to a $100,000 Bonus Fund provided by the Dawkins Charitable Trust, all monies raised are increased. “Here’s how it works,” describes Reule. “If a non-profit organization receives 5 percent of the total amount of money raised during Give Local 2019, that same non-profit receives 5 percent of the $100,000 Bonus Fund” to a maximum of $7,500 each.
In 2018 alone, there were 1,033 donations made to Give Local and non-profits raised an average of $4,140. Of participants, 63 percent of non-profits report gaining new donors to their vital work. And dollars donated locally stay local. “We’ve heard lots of feedback that community members love Give Local because it showcases so many non-profits—across the arts, the environment, education, health, and human services—doing amazing work in our community,” says Reule. “The event showcases our community’s sense of collaboration and shared commitment to working towards creating a healthier, more just, and thriving place to live.”
The Foundation typically receives more than $1,000,000 in grant requests annually and distributes over $400,000 in grants. Recipients include everyone from the Nisqually Land Trust, who protect the water, wildlife, and peoples of the Nisqually River Watershed, to the Olympia Film Society and downtown Capitol Theater.
Beyond individual contributions, Give Local relies on sponsorship as well. “We are so grateful to our sponsors who help make Give Local possible,” says Reule. “Thanks to the generous support of our Give Local sponsors, 100 percent of the funds raised during Give Local are passed along to our non-profit partners. These sponsors cover the costs of credit card fees, online giving platform fees, and other costs that make Give Local possible.”
2019 sponsors include Olympia Federal Savings, WSECU, the Dennis and Joan Peterson Family Fund, Puget Sound Energy, TwinStar Credit Union, Capital Medical Center, Green Realty Group, and Panowicz Jewelers. Media partners include ThurstonTalk, LewisTalk, Mixx 96.1, and 94.5 Roxy.
Nationwide, giving is on the rise. The National Philanthropic Trust reports that “Americans gave $427.71 billion in 2018 [and] corporate giving in 2018 increased to $20.05 billion.” But they also acknowledge that “Adults are more likely to give to charity if their parents gave to charity.” Through the holiday season and all year round why not start a new giving—not gift—based tradition? Let the next generation know that time and money go much further when they benefit others.