Abilene Gives surpassing last’s year mark with time to spare | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors
UPDATE 9:25 P.M.
Abilene Gives 2021 blew past last year’s total of $1.3 million to $1,484,336 with more than two hours of time to collect pledges in the 24-hour campaign. So far, 3,785 donors have made donations.
The top five nonprofits by dollar amount at this time are:
1. Camp Able of Buffalo Gap: $87,390.22
2. Pregnancy Resources of Abilene: $60,640
3. West Texas Rehabilitation Center and Hospice of the Big Country: $60,545
4. Big Country CASA, Inc.: $43,735
5. Christian Homes and Family Services: $43,243
UPDATE 6:39 P.M.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the Abilene Gives all-day fundraiser crossed $1,000,000 to reach $1,000,085 with 3,127 donors.
The top five nonprofits by dollar amount at that time were:
1. Camp Able of Buffalo Gap: $44,532.78
2. Christian Homes and Family Services: $37,978.00
3. Big Country CASA: $33,545
4. St. John’s Episcopal School: $32,115
5. Gold Monarch Healing Center: $20,945
The campaign continues until midnight.
The Abilene Gives fundraiser, a daylong opportunity to donate to more than 130 local nonprofits, raised more than $856,000 as of late Tuesday afternoon.
A total of 2,690 donors pledged their financial support. The 2020 fundraiser set a record with $1.3 million given.
► Go to reporternews.com for updated totals.
As of late afternoon, Camp Able of Buffalo Gap was in the lead, raising more than $36,000, followed by Christian Homes and Family Services.
Next was St. John’s Episcopal School, followed by Gold Monarch Healing Center. Gold Monarch’s goal is to “provide a safe place to retreat and find healing for the whole person – spirit, soul and body.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Abilene rounded out the top five, followed by Cancer Services Network.
This year’s event has a theme of “4 the Community,” encapsulating both the date of the fundraiser and its core purpose.
This is the Community Foundation of Abilene’s fifth year to oversee Abilene Gives.
Years of support
Donations can be made at abilenegives.org. Visitors can find out more about each of the participating organizations before making contributions.
Donations as little as $10 are accepted, with no maximum limit. All donations are tax deductible.
More:Homes, families and inspiration: No lack of choice of causes to support in Abilene Gives
More than 3,600 donors participated in 2020, despite the event falling amid a health crisis.
The most popular target last year was CFA’s amplification fund, split between all organizations participating in Abilene Gives based on what they bring in during the event.
Katie Alford, the CFA’s president and CEO, said the hope was to get somewhere around 2020’s record.
As of Tuesday afternoon the organization and its nonprofit partners “felt good” about those chances, she said.
Last year, many nonprofits had to scuttle plans for their own fundraisers because of COVID-19, Alford said.
“They saw those revenue streams vanish,” she said. “And I think that the donors stepped in because they knew that the nonprofits needed it — and they weren’t spending it on going to those events.”
This year, as Texas reopened again, it was uncertain where donors might land, she said.
What is certain, Alford said, is that each year, nonprofits have become more and more adept at promoting their messages, getting people to help them get their word out, and using social media tools, including video, to help tell their stories.
“We’ve been hearing more leading up to (Abilene Gives) that there’s more buy-in and more understanding of how they can use this to benefit organizations and use it as a fundraiser,” she said.
Many of the organizations have figured out that if they can get matching dollars from a donor, it incentivizes others, while others have learned to focus on “peer-to-peer” fundraising, a type of crowdfunding.
A text-to-give option has also been added, and every year, Alford said, “we’re trying every year to find easier ways to get people to the page and get excited.”
In addition, perks often come with supporting one particular charity or another.
In Christian Homes’ case, volunteers were hard at work making chocolate chip pies as thank-yous to generous donors, a tasty treat in return for a good turn.
Sherri Statler, president and CEO of Christian Homes’ West Texas office, said there were “lots of worthy causes asking for support” during the Abilene Gives.
The nonprofit offers residential and community-based maternity care for young women with unplanned pregnancies, provides foster care for abused children and prepares couples to adopt.
What makes the experience meaningful for everyone participating is “having the support of your hometown, your friends, colleagues, church members and neighbors,” Statler said.
Abilene Gives is focused on a single day, she said, but has wide repercussions beyond its giving window.
The relationships created with donors, who may become volunteers, regular contributors or in the case of Christian Homes, foster parents, extend long beyond the single day of giving, she said.
“That exponential factor is fantastic,” she said.
Abilene Education Foundation, another nonprofit participating in the fundraiser, has a mission of supporting teachers and students through programming enrichment.
The group was helped greatly by last year’s Abilene Gives, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Executive Director Christine Curtis-Carr said.
“For us, it’s about raising funds that will directly impact learning in the classroom,” Curtis-Carr said. “It’s just so important, those hands-on experiences that teachers want to create.”
Teachers spend $450-$600 per year, on average, out of their own pocket to enhance classroom learning, she said.
As of noon, the nonprofit was in sight of its $10,000 goal, and then surpassed it.
Some donors are former ASID students, she Curtis-Carr said.
“Knowing that we have past students that are wanting to give back into the educational system that they were a part of is just a great feeling,” she said.
Because of donors, the foundation last year awarded 34 student scholarships, 71 classroom teacher grants for hands-on learning projects and 67 new-to-the-profession grants for new teachers to set up their classrooms.
It also directly assisted 623 high school seniors through their college application process, offered additional funding for hands-on equipment to elementary physical education programs and honored 24 young master artists enrolled in the AP studio art program.
Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for the Abilene Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.