CROWN POINT | Have you got a favorite charity?
If so, Tuesday is the day you can put your money where your heart is.
Tuesday marks Give Local America, a one-day online giving campaign to help thousands of nonprofit organizations nationwide. The event celebrates the 100th anniversary of community foundations in the U.S.
Locally, four community foundations are spearheading efforts to make it as easy as possible for donors to connect with charities. For 24 hours, supporters can donate "online only" to dozens of charities who have registered with one of the local foundations.
"The Crown Point Community Foundation has joined the Porter County Community Foundation, the Legacy Foundation and the Unity Foundation in the Give Local event," said Patricia Huber, president and executive director of the Crown Point Community Foundation.
"Because this event is held in partnership with community foundations across the country, Give Local America is likely to be the largest online fundraising event in history."
Nonprofits participating through the CPCF are: The Arc of Northwest Indiana, Catholic Charities Diocese of Gary, American Cancer Society Inc., Campagna Academy, Fair Haven Center for Women, Forest Ridge Academy, Hospice of Franciscan Community Services Inc., St. Anthony Home at Franciscan Communities Inc., Friends of Crown Point Adult Learning Center, Gary Life Education Initiative Inc., Habitat for Humanity of NWI, Independent Cat Society, Lake County Historical Society Museum, Lake Region Christian Assembly, MAAP Services Inc., Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana, Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids Foundation Inc., Opportunity Enterprises, Planting Possibilities, Power Paws for Kids Inc. AAT, Sojourner Truth House, South Lake County Community Services Inc., Special Olympics Lake County, St. Clare Health Clinic and St. Jude House.
Bruce Woods, president of the Lake County Historical Society, said there are two reasons his group is participating. "It means possible funding, and since we are all volunteers, it is important to keeping the museum open, and secondly, its good PR, to let people know we are still here and going strong," he said.
As director of South Lake County Community Services Inc. and Special Olympics Lake County, which both serve all south Lake County communities, Margot Sabato is doubly excited about Give Local day.
"Donations to Special Olympics will be dedicated to all 12 sports we sponsor, to register athletes for competition, and pay for new uniforms," she said. "Last Fall we bought new bowling shirts for our team, the largest in the state, and it cost almost $1,200."
Sending out reminder emails once or twice weekly to supporters, Sabato said SCCS will use any donations it receives "to support our programs, including our buses and our three senior centers."
To donate, visit givelocalcrownpoint.org and scroll to "Crown Point Community Foundation" (or another of the local foundations), then click on it to open the list of registered nonprofits available. Click on your choice (one at a time) and fill in the blanks to donate by credit card. The minimum donation per organization is $25, but you can donate to more than one on the same visit.
As an extra incentive, Huber said, prizes totalling $5,000 will be available to nonprofits in Northwest Indiana that lead the way in donations.
The Game On Award of $1,000 goes to the first nonprofit to receive 25 unique gifts from 25 different donors, while the Generous Neighbor Award goes to the first nonprofit to receive 20 unique online gifts of at least $100.
Timing is everything for the Give Local Lunch Award of $1,000 to the nonprofit that receives the largest gift closest to noon (CST), and for the Home Stretch Award, $1,000 to the nonprofit that receives the greatest number of unique gifts from 9 to 11:30 p.m.
Finally, the Over Achiever Award provides $1,000 for the nonprofit that achieves the overall greatest number of unique donors in 24 hours.