A Time to Rally for Valley Nonprofits

Arizona Gives Day 2020

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Arizona Gives Day is an annual, online giving movement aimed at celebrating and increasing philanthropy in Arizona through a 24-hour online giving event,

A collaboration between the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, with FirstBank as the presenting sponsor, the event helps raise awareness about the critical role Arizona nonprofits play in communities and inspires people to give generously creating a thriving and stronger Arizona for all. This year’s event is scheduled for April 7, and the need for support has never been greater.

As April begins, the world finds itself living in unprecedented times. In Arizona, schools are on hiatus, many businesses are temporarily closed or working at half-capacity, events have been postponed or canceled and Valley organizations and institutions — those that serve the most vulnerable among us and those that bring us hope, light and beauty — are struggling to adapt and meet the needs of those they serve.

At the same time that some Valley nonprofits are forced to cancel their spring fundraisers they are also seeing an increase in needs. Shoebox Ministry in North Phoenix is one such organization. The nonprofit coordinates the collection and distribution of toiletry items for people in the Phoenix Metro area who are experiencing homelessness and others who need but cannot afford hygiene items. [Read “Serving the Valley’s Most Vulnerable” on page 10.]

“We have postponed our first-ever fundraising breakfast that was scheduled for Friday, April 3,” says Jarrett Ransom, executive director. “At that event, we planned to showcase the Shoebox history, the hard work we are currently doing to serve the hygiene needs in our community and share our plans for the future. Our fundraising goal for the event was to raise $50,000 and since we no longer have that opportunity and we’re experiencing a surge in the demand for our services, we’re in need of support more than ever. As we move our fundraising to only an online platform, we are working to create ways to engage through video and continue to raise the funds we so desperately need.”

“One of our biggest challenges at the moment is the need to order hygiene items in bulk (and the funds to do so). Bulk products enable us to limit contact with in-kind donors and increases our efficiencies when we lack a volunteer base to help us count and sort items and pack kits.”

Shoebox Ministry is not alone. Many food banks and other social services are feeling extra pressure as Arizona’s unemployment numbers climb amid the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, many of the nonprofit arts institutions have been negatively impacted by closures — with major events canceled and theaters, museums and libraries closed.

The Alliance kicked off early giving March 17, in an effort to address some of the more immediate needs. In addition, a group of donors has provided separate funding to waive payment processing fees normally paid by nonprofits participating in the Arizona Gives Day.

“What this means is more money goes directly to the nonprofits at a time that has never been more critical because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits CEO Kristen Merrifield. “Nonprofits have always had to cover the 2.1 percent fee charged by the payment processor. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re able to waive that fee.”

“The beauty of Arizona Gives Day is that it shows what is possible when we all invest our time, talents and treasures to truly lift the tide of all nonprofits that participate,” said Merrifield.

It is going to take more than one day of giving for many Valley nonprofits to recover, but Arizona Gives Day is a positive way to start. Learn more at www.azgives.org. |CST

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