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Another Record-Setting Fairfield County Giving Day



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Thousands of individuals offered donations to their choice of 418 nonprofit organizations on March 10 during the third annual Fairfield County Giving Day. The mission of the event is to raise as much money as possible for nonprofit organizations in 24 hours, all done through online donations.

At the end of the 24-hour effort presented by Fairfield County's Community Foundation earlier this month, more than $1.2 million dollars was raised. Donations needed to be at least $10, with no maximum. Donors were allowed to contribute to any number of nonprofits they wished to support.

This year, through 15,311 gifts, a total of $1,246,964.09 was raised during Fairfield County Giving Day.

The inaugural event in 2014 raised a total of $745,729 for more than 250 nonprofits; Newtown's groups raised more than $25,000.

Fairfield County Giving Day 2015 raised a total of $1,066,091. Sixteen Newtown organizations raised a total of $39,151.

Sixteen Newtown groups were again registered for this year, as well as Ben's Bells Connecticut, which was founded in 2013 as Ben's Bells Newtown but moved into a new studio in Bethel within the past year. A number of residents continue serve as volunteers for the local chapter, which was formed as a result of 12/14. Similarly, The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, based in Stratford and named for one of the teachers killed on 12/14, participated in the event.

The Newtown organizations collected a total of $45,692 in donations, broken down as follows: The Animal Center, $3,940; The Avielle Foundation, $470; Ben's Bells Connecticut, $4,230; Ben's Lighthouse, $6,250; The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation Inc, $14,850; EverWonder Children's Museum, $2,110; and Friends of 2GHG, $25.

Also, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, $55; Kitten Associates, $3,250; Leaps Of Faith Disabled Water Skiers Club, $600; The Newtown Foundation, $3,124; Newtown Kindness, $2,240; Newtown Historical Society, $160; Newtown Youth & Family Services, $2,538; NYA Sports & Fitness Center, $635; REACH Newtown, $325; and Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, Inc, $890.

In addition to donations, groups participating in Fairfield County Giving Days can also compete for myriad cash prizes before and during the 24-hour event.

Part of the funds raised by Ben's Bells Connecticut included a $1,000 Whole Foods Get Up and Give Prize, one of 20 such prizes sponsored by the supermarket chain for the first 20 groups to receive 25 unique donors of $25 or more. In addition, Kitten Associates earned a first place $500 Facebook Photo Contest prize.

Head O' Meadow hosted an "Inside-Out Day" on Thursday, March 10. Timed to coincide with this year's Fairfield County Giving Day, the event raised money to support Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS). Students who wore their clothes inside out for the day also donated $2 for the organization. Head O' Meadow Principal Barbara Gasparine, right, and lead teacher Carol Danenberg, left, were among those who wore clothing items inside out for the day. They were joined for a picture with some students who also wore clothes inside out for the cause. According to Matt Ariniello, who oversees Operations and Development for NYFS, Hawley Elementary School held a Penny Wars collection and Newtown Middle School offered a dress down for its teachers, both of which also raised funds for NYFS. (Bee Photo, Hallabeck)
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