March 7: Fairfield County Giving Day Offers Financial Support, Incentives For Non-Profits

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include Ben’s Bells Newtown and The Resiliency Center of Newtown, which will also benefit from Fairfield County Giving Day.  The story has also been updated to indicate the correct number of Newtown-based groups that will benefit from the 24 hours of online donations.

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Every hour of March 7 could prove to be beneficial for area non-profits.

Residents can support more than 300 organizations, including a number of Newtown-based groups, just by browsing the web and getting involved in Fairfield County Giving Day, which runs for 24 hours on Friday, March 7. The online fundraising initiative was launched by the Fairfield County Community Foundation in collaboration with Bank of America.

Fairfield County Community Foundation Communications Manager Jeff Yates explained that Giving Days “have been successful in galvanizing the community into supporting non-profits.” Held elsewhere in the state and country in past years, this is the first Fairfield County Giving Day. The 24-hour donation window “gets the community to focus on supporting non profits,” he said.

Mr Yates also hopes this approach “draws out new and younger donors. Online [donation] makes it fast and easy and fun. Someone who can’t make a bigger donation can give say $10, and tell ten of their friends. It’s a great vehicle to tell friends why they should also support the organization.”

According to FCCFoundation.org, “Fairfield County Giving Day uses an innovative web-based online giving platform to create an easy, exciting way for you to make gifts to the important nonprofits in your community.” That site also states: “Fairfield County Giving Day is a new, innovative way you can help support the important work of local nonprofits.” The goal of this online, 24-hour day of giving, is to raise $1 million for more than 300 nonprofits throughout the region.

Donations can be made on Friday through the website FCGives.org.

Through the website, donors can lend support by typing in a specific non-profit name, typing in a town, or searching by cause, such as education, art, or environment.

Twelven Newtown non-profits have registered for in the event: The 12.14 Foundation, The Animal Center Inc, The CMAK (Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, Inc, Ben’s Bells Newtown, Everwonder Children’s Museum, Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, Leaps of Faith Waterski Club, Newtown Forest Association, The Newtown Foundation, Inc, Newtown Kindness Inc, Newtown Youth & Family Services Inc, and The Resiliency Center of Newtown.

Area towns and cities that will benefit from this fundraiser include neighboring Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, Monroe, Ridgefield, and Trumbull.

The 24-hour fundraisers are “absolutely” successful, Mr Yates said. Other giving days locally and nationwide have raised from hundreds of thousands of dollars into the millions, supporting hundreds of non profits, he said.

Cash Incentives Add To Donations

Donations made during the 24-hour window will be multiplied, and at the end of the day nearly 30 additional “prizes” will be awarded to nonprofits.

According to Fairfield County Community Foundation,  every donation made on Fairfield County Giving Day — whether $10 or $100 — counts as a point for the nonprofit in the competition. The nonprofit that receives the most number of donations wins $25,000, on top of the donations they collected during the donation window.

In addition, the first 25 nonprofits to raise $1,000 will receive a dollar-for-dollar match of $1,000.

Prizes will be awarded based on most money raised by a certain time, and number of donations. There are early bird prizes for the most money raised by 10 am, and other prizes to be awarded at the end of the fundraiser.


The Newtown Participants

The vision of The 12.14 Foundation, according to its website (1214foundation.org), “is to create a performing arts center in Newtown to honor those lost in the tragic events of December 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.” Listed on the site are four reasons to support the foundation: the creation of an enduring remembrance, or the landmark performing arts center of historical significance designed by a team of world-class professionals; an academy of the arts, to create new educational opportunities; to provide a stage for discussion, meant for discussion of issues affecting the nation’s culture, technology, and entertainment; and to serve as a global influence, “by nurturing children’s talents and improving their creative abilities.”

The Animal Center Inc (TheAnimalCenter.org) will on March 7 will be raising money for its Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary Fund. The proposed sanctuary is named for one of the girls killed on 12/14. The Animal Center runs rescue programs for pets entirely through a volunteer foster network. Find adoption forms, or recover lost pets, or find references for facilities aiding injured wildlife on the website.

The CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, Inc (ChaseKowalskiFund.com) was established in memory of one of the boys killed on 12/14. Its website site states, “In remembrance of Chase Kowalski, the students and educators of the Sandy Hook tragedy, we will be a positive force to inspire community healing through family and children-focused initiatives and programs.  By focusing on emotional healing and physical health & wellness, we will positively change the lives of children and their families.”

Ben’s Bells Newtown (www.bensbellsnewtown.org) is one of eight Ben’s Bells chapters in the United States, and the only studio outside of Tucson, Ariz., where the project was begun in 2003 by Jeannette Maré as a means of commemorating her young son, who died of croup. BBN’s mission is to “inspire, educate and motivate each other to realize the impact of intentional kindness and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness, thereby strengthening ourselves, our relationships and our communities.” Ben’s Bells does this primarily through the creation and distribution of Ben’s Bells — ceramic hanging works of art inspired by the spirit of Ben Maré Packard — and Kindness Education programs in schools, workplaces and neighborhoods, where diverse individuals are unified in a powerful network of mutual support.

Everwonder Children’s Museum (EverWonderMuseum.com) has as its mission “to cultivate a life-long love of learning in children by encouraging them to think, inquire, and wonder about the world around them through the use of hands-on exhibits and demonstrations. We pride ourselves on being a place where children leave feeling enlightened, inspired, and empowered.”

Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation (JesseLewisChooseLove.org), according to its mission statement, “collaborates with professional educators to bring lasting meaning to Jesse’s murder by developing school-based educational programs to change our current culture of violence to one of safety, peace and love for everyone in our world. The foundation was named to honor one of the boys killed on 12/14. The single guiding principle, the sole purpose and motto the foundation’s work is “Teaching Others to Choose Love.”

The mission of Leaps of Faith Waterski Club (LeapsofFaithWaterskiers.com) is,“to build lasting confidence and fulfillment through exposure and professional training in recreational and competitive water and snow skiing to both children and adults with disabilities.” The volunteer-run club, based in Sandy Hook, works with disabled veterans, children, and adults.

Newtown Forest Association (NewtownForestAssociation.org), the oldest private land trust in Connecticut, has been dedicated for over 80 years to securing for the residents of Newtown the benefits derived from open space. Properties include forest and agricultural land, wildlife and nature preserves, and watersheds. 

The Newtown Foundation (NewtownAction.org/newtown-foundation) states as its mission: “To provide comfort, education, scholarship and other support and resources to people and communities impacted by, and living or growing up among or in the aftermath, of violence in American society; and to help them lead the way toward positive cultural change over the long term.” Led by some of the same people from Newtown Action Alliance, the organization “has been working tirelessly since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy to help our community heal and be remembered as the place where positive cultural changes began,” according to its website.

The mission of Newtown Kindness Inc (NewtownKindness.org), founded in memory of 12/14 victim Charlotte Bacon, is to promote kindness as a guiding principle of humanity. The foundation is committed to fostering compassion in children and inspiring lifelong contributors to society. It was established to foster a mindset of kindness children, and recognize special kids who complete acts of kindness. Its signature event is The Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Awards. The second annual ceremony was recently held on what would have been Charlotte’s eighth birthday.

Newtown Youth & Family Services Inc (NewtownYouthandFamilyServices.org) is dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. The vision of NYFS is to become a recognized leader in providing mental health and support services. The nonprofit agency combines clinical services and positive youth development programs to provide a continuum of care to residents of the greater Newtown area.

The Resiliency Center of Newtown (resiliencycenterofnewtown.org) provides free and confidential services, programs, and events to assist in the healing process for anyone in the greater Newtown community impacted by the events of 12/14. Founded by Sandy Hook resident Stephanie N. Cinque, MSW, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, the Resiliency Center of Newtown officially opened its doors to the public in late September. RCN is a program of Tuesday’s Children and operates under their 501(c)(3) non-profit status. All donations to Tuesday’s Children on March 7 will go directly to The Resiliency Center of Newtown.


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