For 24 hours on March 7, many Newtown nonprofit groups were among those benefiting from an online fundraising initiative. The first Fairfield County Giving Day, promoted by the Fairfield County Community Foundation, raised $745,729 for more than 250 local nonprofits. Newtown’s nonprofits raised more than $25,000.
Local recipients included The 12.14 Foundation, which received $650 in donations; The Animal Center Inc, $10,719; Ben’s Bells Newtown, $3,325; CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation Inc, $2,709; Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, $1,615; Leaps of Faith Water Ski Club, $1,210; Newtown Forest Association, $2,055; The Newtown Foundation Inc, $5,924; Newtown Kindness Inc, $160; and Newtown Youth & Family Services, $1,996.
Figures for EverWonder Children’s Museum and The Resiliency Center of Newtown, which were also signed up for the event, were not provided to The Newtown Bee. A full list of all the participating nonprofits and how much they raised can be viewed online at FCGives.org.
Through a recent e-mail inquiry, several organizations’ representatives commented on the fundraising blast.
Maureen Clark of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation wrote: “We are new to fundraising and our database is small but growing day by day.” The Fairfield County Community Foundation “was able to provide us with exceptional tools for marketing the event, and I’m sure we will have better success in raising funds for our foundation next year,” she said.
The CMAK Sandy Hook Foundation Executive Director Kevin Grimes’s experience with the online fundraiser was “frustrating,” he said. Although his organization was able to “rally supporters and raise $2,700,” he noted “significant problems” with the online funding site, which was “often down.”
He feels that “most, if not all” money raised “originated from known supporters,” and he does not believe that participation in Giving Day increased awareness or support.
Mr Grimes also offered some positive feedback. He wrote that the Fairfield County Community Foundation “obviously put significant effort into organizing this first-time event and they will be in a position to offer a better experience going forward.”
About The Recipients
The vision of The 12.14 Foundation, according to its website, “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.”
The Animal Center Inc is 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.
Ben’s Bells was begun in 2003 by Jeannette Maré of Tucson, Ariz., 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 Newtown, established last year, was the first studio outside of Tucson.
The CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, Inc was established in memory of one of the boys killed on 12/14. Its website 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.”
Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, 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 mission of Leaps of Faith Waterski Club 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.”
Newtown Forest Association, the oldest private land trust in Connecticut, has been dedicated for more than 80 years to securing for the residents of Newtown the benefits derived from open space.
The mission of Newtown Kindness Inc, founded in memory of 12/14 victim Charlotte Bacon, is to promote kindness as a guiding principle of humanity.
The 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.”
Newtown Youth & Family Services Inc 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.