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July 1, 2022

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Giving Tuesday campaign spurs bump in charitable donations across Clark County

‘It’s just part of what makes this such a special place to live and work’

By , Columbian staff writer

Many nonprofits across Clark County saw increased donations during the nationwide Giving Tuesday campaign, an event that promotes charitable giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Conceived as a counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday was organized by a team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City in 2012. Now, it is recognized in more than 150 countries.

In years past, Giving Tuesday hasn’t been a widely popular campaign in Southwest Washington, likely because the region has its own unofficial giving holiday, Give More 24!, which is held in September. This year, Give More 24! raised $3.3 million in donations for local nonprofits, setting a record for the event.

But Giving Tuesday is becoming more popular locally, especially as the pandemic continues to strain local nonprofits. Plus, many nonprofits are taking a unique approach to the event to encourage donations.

Share’s Backpack Program

Homeless service provider Share, for example, focused on raising funds for its Backpack Program, which provides over 525,000 pounds of food to schools and those in need.

The organization has found that focusing on a particular need during Giving Tuesday tends to drive up engagement, said Share spokesperson Jessica Lightheart.

“Success on Giving Tuesday has fluctuated over the years,” Lightheart said. “At Share, we have found that asking for funds to purchase a specific item is usually most successful. For example, one year the oven down at Share House — from which the Hot Meals program operates — broke down. We needed $10,000 to purchase a new one, and were able to raise those funds.”

For Giving Tuesday this year, Share raised $28,683 for the Backpack Program, bringing the organization just short of an anonymous $30,000 match.

“Checks have been coming in over the past week, and we anticipate more, so we have our fingers crossed that we will push over that goal,” Lightheart said.

Amid the strain caused by the pandemic, the funds were greatly appreciated.

“Typically, (Share’s Backpack Program) is not short on funding,” Lightheart said. “However, the rising food costs and delays in the food-delivery supply chain that continue to impact the household budgets of thousands in our community has affected this program, too. Adding on to those challenges, local funding sources were also lost this year.

“The Clark County community is incredibly generous and is quick to step up financially when nonprofits, including Share, are in need,” Lightheart continued. “It’s just part of what makes this such a special place to live and work.”

Other nonprofits

Columbia Land Trust, a Vancouver-based nonprofit dedicated to land conservation in the Northwest, also raised significant funds Tuesday.

The Dudley Foundation matched every gift of $25,000 and under donated to the organization Tuesday, bringing total donations to $55,567.

“This was a record-breaking Giving Tuesday for Columbia Land Trust, which is great news because our conservation work is more important than ever,” said Columbia Land Trust Executive Director Glenn Lamb. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who donated, and the funds raised will be crucial in supporting our efforts to protect the nature of the Northwest, from the Pacific Ocean to the east Cascades.”

Meals on Wheels People also raised significant funds this Giving Tuesday. The organization set a fundraising goal of $60,000 and ended up raising $85,000.

In Clark County specifically, the organization raised $25,000 from 108 donations, according to Meals on Wheels People spokesperson Ashley Cone.

“We are so thankful for the generosity we receive from our supporters in Clark County,” said Tony Stasser, chief development officer at Meals on Wheels People. “The donations we received on Giving Tuesday, and throughout the year, help us provide nutritious meals and human connections to older adults in the community.”

While Giving Tuesday is over, many nonprofits are still seeking donations for the holidays.

Other organizations that sought donations on Giving Tuesday include iUrban Teen, Cougar Food Pantry at WSU Vancouver, Northwest Association for Blind Athletes, Support for Early Learning and Families, Washington Trails Association, and Family Promise of Clark County.

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