Next week’s Give Local campaign gets a $100K head start

The Fauquier Health Foundation has given the first-ever Give Local Piedmont 24-hour fundraising drive a $100,000 boost, awarding a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $100,000 to the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation (NPCF) and the nonprofits participating in the May 6 online challenge. Prize money awarded during the webathon will add to the pot.

Give Local Piedmont is part fundraiser, part competition. The 107 nonprofit organizations in Rappahannock, Madison, Fauquier and Culpeper counties all stand to benefit from the concentrated push for donations to fund their work, though they have no idea how much to expect. The $100,000 from the health foundation could provide incentive to give.

“This amazing grant will not only provide added dollars to the Give Local Campaign, but will inspire many more individuals to go online on May 6 to support all of these charities that provide so much to our area,” said Cole Johnson, NPCF’s executive director.

The Fauquier Health Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar match applies to a maximum of $5,000 per donor up to a total of $100,000, said Elizabeth Henrickson, director of administration and programs for the health foundation.

The health foundation supports community needs out of $10 million set aside for charitable giving as a result of an agreement between Fauquier Hospital and LifePoint Hospitals. Based in Brentwood, Tenn., LifePoint owns 80 percent of Fauquier Hospital as a result of a partnership established in 2013. (The agreement also calls for LifePoint to make a $52.8 million capital investment in Fauquier Hospital over the next 10 years.)

The health foundation’s board received a report about the planned Give Local Piedmont challenge and voted to provide the $100,000 because “they felt it was something worthy to support,” Henrickson said.

“Our goal is to enhance the region as a place where everyone has the opportunity to live, work, play and grow healthy,” added Christy Connolly, president and CEO of the health foundation.

“There’s no better incentive for a donor than seeing the value of his or her contribution doubled,” said John McCarthy, Rappahannock County administrator and chairman of the NPCF board. “It’s an encouraging show of faith by our friends at Fauquier Health that Give Local Piedmont can and will succeed.”

The NPCF organized the Give Local Piedmont Campaign and is providing a 3-percent match for donations. For a 24-hour period, donors can make their minimum $10 donation by going to the campaign website, GiveLocalPiedmont.org.

“It is easy and simple and you can give very quickly,” said Johnson. If a donor would rather not give online, a donation can be submitted in person from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Culpeper State Theatre, which is the real-life headquarters for the mostly-online campaign.

Union First Market Bank, the William and Mary Greve Foundation, the Nancy and Michael Baudhuin Foundation and the Hampton Foundation are also providing financial support, which helps underwrite the cost of cash prizes.

For those prizes, during the 24-hour drive, the names of donors will be drawn at random, and the prize money will go to the nonprofit that received a donation from the individual whose name was drawn. “Golden tickets” will be drawn every hour, each worth $500 to the winning charity. There will also be four “power hours” during the 24-hour period, which will earn the charity raising the most money between 5 and 6 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight an additional $750.

Johnson said she hopes Give Local Piedmont will become an annual event, especially since the online challenge has been successful elsewhere — as in Alexandria, where an online drive raised $100,000 its first year and reached the $1-million mark just three years later.

There is a hope that new donors will be reached by the online drive. Johnson said 25 percent of donors motivated to give to a fundraiser like this one have never made a donation before.

“I got excited when I heard about the idea a couple years ago. The Community Fund of Richmond raised $1.2 million. I investigated and thought it would be a great thing for our community,” she said.

The $30,000 cost of establishing a special website for the drive gave her pause, but a more manageable $2,500 cost was secured after she attended a quarterly meeting of community foundations in Richmond and the lower cost was arranged through the council of community foundations.

Last fall, “we decided to take the leap” and hold the Give Local Piedmont campaign, Johnson said. Participating nonprofits serve a range of causes, including education, arts, environment, medical, animals and others.

Holding the donor challenge this year has special significance, Johnson said, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of community foundations. The first one was started in Cleveland, Ohio, as a way for people from all walks of life to financially support worthy causes.

“It showed you don’t have to be incredibly wealthy to be philanthropic. People of modest means can provide permanent funding for community groups,” Johnson said.

The Northern Piedmont Community Foundation has been getting the word out about May 6 with bumper stickers, signs, banners, radio spots and print advertisements. The Rappahannock News is a media sponsor of Give Local Piedmont.

The Rappahannock County 4-H is one of the nonprofits participating in the event.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity. Any way we can benefit from the money raised to help the  program” in any dollar amount would be welcome, said Jenny Kapsa, 4-H coordinator. She was briefed on how the fundraising challenge will roll out through webinars, and was provided images and logos for advertising. But 4-H has been “using social media and Facebook to get the word out. We’ll see what happens,” Kapsa said.

“We are a true nonprofit. It costs $250 to send a child to summer camp and $220 goes to the facility, so we depend on donations for the program and scholarships,” she said. She has no inkling how much her organization will realize from the fundraiser, “but anything would be better than nothing.”

Paul Reisler, artistic director of Kid Pan Alley, another of the participating nonprofits, said Give Local Piedmont accomplishes “several wonderful things. All of the different nonprofits are seen in one place so that people can see the breadth of good works being done in the community. And it directs the energy and focus on a given day.” With each nonprofit typically raising funds individually “the effort can get dissipated and donor fatigue can set in. This helps in raising awareness of the organizations and hopefully raise more money. With matches like the power hours we can leverage the money.”

Reisler said he has been getting the word out about Give Local Piedmont with email blasts to those on the mailing list of Kid Pan Alley, which promotes a love of music and inspiring children to write songs.

Barbara Wall, board member of the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community, called the online effort “a tremendous undertaking. A lot of people have put time and effort into it and we are happy to participate. The ability to see contributions and have them matched is almost unprecedented. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to raise more money.”

Wall said RAAC — which supports the Theatre at Washington, a lecture series at the county library, the artists’ studio tour and “Soup and Soul” dinners in the fall — is getting the word out through a newsletter going out late this week, and other communications timed to be closer to the date of the event so that it is fresh in people’s minds.

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About James Ivancic 67 Articles
James Ivancic is a reporter for the Fauquier Times in Warrenton, Va. Contact him at jivancic@fauquier.com.