Bathtubs. Canned food. A headstone. Hay.
During an annual 24-hour fundraising marathon, nonprofits collect funds for sundry, simple items.
But those objects provide invaluable services: Shelter for homeless people, meals for the hungry, comfort for grieving parents and safety for abused horses.
“You can turn somebody’s life around really simply,” said Jane Bowling–Wilson, executive director for the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation.
On Tuesday, that group and the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region will host fundraising marathons as part of a national effort called Give Local America.
In Fredericksburg and its surrounding counties, the effort is known as the Community Give.
This year, 182 nonprofits will participate in the Community Give and 152 will take part in Give Local Piedmont.
During the event, donors can go to one website to support various local charity efforts, from ferret rescues to homeless shelters.
“It’s like when a community comes together after a disaster, but we get to skip the disaster part,” said Lisa Biever, director of donor services for the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region. “We get to come together as a community and do something in a positive manner without waiting for something horrible to happen.”
Last year, 8,023 people donated to 155 nonprofits through the Community Give, providing $822,266 for museums, homeless services, medical clinics, schools, choirs, sports, animal rescues and more.
Give Local Piedmont collected $747,ooo for 138 nonprofits in Culpeper, Madison, Rappahannock and Fauquier counties.
“The nonprofits are as diverse as the cars in a parking lot, everything you can imagine,” Bowling–Wilson said. “It ranges from really small groups who have no paid staff, that are just sort of dedicated people out there trying to change the world to really large groups, from teeny, tiny groups to groups that are very big, which is really cool.”
The one-day fundraising event gives charities a platform to raise money and awareness for their causes.
Throughout the day, nonprofits compete for various prizes. Every gift of $25 or more counts toward competitions.
Last year, Empowerhouse won the award for raising the most money, netting $78,026 in one day.
The Rappahannock Area YMCA garnered the most individual donations from the Community Give. But a small nonprofit, The Fairy Godmother Project, came close to the YMCA’s total of 501 donors, Biever said.
The Fairy Godmother Project, which helps families dealing with pediatric cancer, was featured in a national video about Give Local America. The Fairy Godmother Project raised $21,918 in last year’s event—about 10 percent of its budget for 2015.
“We just thought that was a good example of a grassroots organization that is getting things done,” Biever said.
In the months preceding the event, the charities receive training on finding and retaining donors and using social media.
Throughout the Fredericksburg area, donors can give money online, at the offices of the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region or at any branch of Union Bank and Trust.
In the Piedmont region, people can stop by the State Theatre of Culpeper throughout the day to view donation results as they come in.
And donors don’t have to limit themselves to just one charity, Biever said. On the website, they can give to as many as they’d like.
“To me, it’s like a box of puppies, you don’t want to pick just one—you want to take them all home,” she said.