Corporate and individual philanthropy will be in the spotlight again as Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is readying its fifth annual Giving Day, an endeavor that seeks to raise funds for 437 local nonprofits.
The 24-hour event kicks off at midnight on March 1 and encourages donations of as little as $10 to nonprofits serving the social, economic, educational and cultural needs of the region. Donations can be made via the FCGives.org website, which keeps a real-time tally of how much money is being donated to the individual nonprofits during the course of the event.
Last year’s event set a record in raising $1.46 million from 13,718 donors, which topped the previous record set in 2016 of $1.24 million donated by about 11,000 donors. Since its inception five years ago, Giving Day has raised over $4.5 million.
Juanita James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, stated that nonprofits participating in previous Giving Days saw an average 30 percent increase in the number of new donors connecting with their organizations via this event. “And it is not just about the money being raised,” she said. “This helps the nonprofits learn how to use social media and market the work they’re doing so people can learn more about them.”
James noted that this year’s Giving Day is operating with a cloud of uncertainty shadowing it: the recent changes to the federal tax code nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals, which some nonprofits see as problematic because taxpayers will now have less incentive to itemize their deductions for charitable giving in order to reduce their taxable income. James did not know how this would impact this year’s event, although she was optimistic for a strong turnout.
“I don’t have a target, but I would like it to top last year,” she said.
This year’s event will also see Bank of America’s return as lead sponsor for the event. Bill Tommins, southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America, is eager to see a wider scope of new donors in this year’s effort.
“The whole concept of Giving Day is to expand individual donations,” Tommins said. “Last year, 34 percent of our donations came from first-time donors. That is a really great metric and its shows that we are not just tapping into the same donor base.”
In addition to Bank of America, Giving Day sponsors include Whole Foods, Sacred Heart University’s Master of Public Administration program, Neuberger Berman, Webster Private Bank, BlumShapiro, Cummings & Lockwood LLC, Day Pitney, First County Bank, RZH Advisors, Brewport, Nikki Glekas Events and Chelsea Piers Connecticut. Media partners for this year’s event are Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Moffly Media, Star 99.9 and 95.9 Fox, Barrett Outdoor Communications and News12 Connecticut.