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County-wide day of giving returns May 18

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry A sign at Warren County Courthouse proclaims the annual Warren County Day of Giving — Warren Gives — will be held from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 18. Online donors who visit warrengives.org during that time can make donations to any and all of 101 local organizations. All donations are stretched by a $60,000 pool of matching funds.

When organizations are in need, Warren Gives.

Arts? Warren Gives. Education? Warren Gives. Emergency services? Libraries? Health? Nature? Programs to help adults and children? Warren Gives.

The county-wide day of giving will be held from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at warrengives.org.

In the tenth year of the event, a total of 101 local agencies, entities, and organizations are counting on donations from the community. They have reason to be confident.

Last year, donors from 41 states made almost 6,000 individual donations adding up to over $670,000.

“That many donors in a 16-hour period speaks to the evolving of the event,” Warren Gives Coordinator Mark King said.

“For a community as small as ours to have this kind of response on a day of giving, it’s pretty unique,” Community Foundation of Warren County Executive Director Rob Kaemmerer said. “I’m excited.”

“We tacked on $60,000 in matching funds,” King said. “Last year was another record-breaking year.”

The organizations that stretch the donations – Betts Foundation, Community Foundation of Warren County, Crossett, DeFrees Family Memorial Fund, Ellwood, McComas Charitable Fund, Northwest Charitable Foundation, Sara Sokolski Memorial Fund, Superior Tire and Rubber Corp., and United Refining Company – have contributed the same amount this year.

“Again, we have a $60,000 matching pool,” King said. “The match pool is something that makes this event unique. Every donation grows.”

The matching dollars are split up in the same proportion as the donations. If an entity receives 1 percent of the donations, it receives 1 percent of the matching pool – $600.

The participation of the Community Foundation isn’t limited to the match pool.

“The foundation underwrites the whole event,” King said. “That underwriting means that 100 percent of the dollars that someone donates to an organization go to that organization.”

One of the biggest costs covered by the Community Foundation is credit card processing.

“That number has grown from from a couple thousand to $10,000 to $15,000,” King said. “For the event, it’s a bonus. Other events, you either bump it up to cover that processing fee” or the donations are diminished by the amount of the fees.

There are 101 organizations on the list – available by visiting warrengives.org. Two of those are first-timers – Experience Inc. and Woofington Dog Park.

For many of the participating organizations, Warren Gives offers structure that they just can’t bring on their own. The collective event allows those groups not only a chance at some stretched donations, but a mechanism for online donations.

Generating enthusiasm for the event is up to the organizations. After 10 years, most of the organizations know exactly how to do that – whether by word-of-mouth, social media, or something else. “Over the years, everyone tends to get better and better and it certainly shows in the dollars that are donated,” King said.

The Community Foundation offers special incentives, too. The organizations that win them earn additional dollars – as much as $200 per incentive.

“They create excitement and engagement,” King said. “The groups have fun asking their donors to help them go after incentives.”

One of the long-standing incentives rewards the entities that bring in donations from the most states.

“We get donations from Alaska and Hawaii every year,” King said. “There are more Warren connections who don’t live here than do.”

Out-of-state donations “are great donations,” King said. “We’re taking money from outside the community and putting it in.”

The organizations that increase their number of donations and their amount of donations by the highest percentages also earn incentives.

“We also have a mystery incentive prize,” he said.

“It only takes $10 to participate,” King said.

Any donor who visits warrengives.org between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (Eastern Time) Wednesday, May 18, will see a list of entities. Credit card donations are as simple as clicking on one, or many, of those organizations and entering amounts. “Donating is easy, safe, and secure,” King said. “Some people give to 40 organizations.”

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