April 7th is the 97th day of the year, or the 98th this year due to the leap year. This year, April 7th marks the date of the annual event Arkansas Gives, a project of the Arkansas Community Foundation. The Arkansas Community Foundation is a “nonprofit organization promoting smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps,” according to arkansasgives.org.
Arkansans across the state have the opportunity on April 7th to donate to an eligible nonprofit or charitable organization of their choice. Arkansas Gives is challenging all Arkansans to make a donation on a single day in recognition of the vital work that local charitable organizations do. Whether it’s feeding the hungry, caring for the elderly or mentoring children, the work of Arkansas’s nonprofits affects every citizen and helps improve every community. In addition to the single donation made by donors, bonus dollars will also be awarded to these nonprofits. The minimum donation is $25 with no maximum donation. All donations will be received through arkansasgives.org and must be made between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM.
First Security Bank is the main sponsor of the event. “We will provide the funds for prizes awarded to nonprofits for most individual donations and most money raised in three categories,” Kayce Wright with First Security Bank said. In 2015, First Security Bank contributed the prize money for nonprofits that raised the most dollars and received the most individual donations. The categories awarded were most dollars raised for large nonprofits, most donations for large nonprofits, most dollars raised for small nonprofits, and most donations for small nonprofits. Over $40,000 was donated by First Security Bank in 2015.
Overall, the results of the 2015 event included 361 participating nonprofits, $1.98 million dollars raised from the public alone, $2.33 million dollars distributed to nonprofits including the prize money and bonus dollars, and a total of 7,552 transactions through the website on that single day in 2015.
This year is on track to be even more successful with a total of 550-plus nonprofits participating in the event. In order to be an eligible nonprofit or charity, they must be headquartered or have a home base in Arkansas, be a member of the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance, and have 501c3 tax exempt status under IRS code and are qualified as a 509(a)(1), (a)(2) or (a)(3) organization or as a private operating foundation. Some participating nonprofits include the Maggie House, the Ronald McDonald Foundation, Garland County Habitat for Humanity, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Our House, Opportunities Inc. etc.
A local nonprofit organization that participated for the first time last year is the Saline Memorial Health Foundation. In 2015, the Saline Memorial Health Foundation received a total of $1467.00 dollars in individual donations plus the bonus dollars. The Health Foundation is looking forward to building off of last year and getting the most out of the Arkansas Gives event.
“Whether it’s by funding equipment that saved a life or supporting programs like hospice that guided a family through terminal illness, all donors have a direct impact on our ability to provide personalized, high-quality care, ” Matt Brumley of Saline Memorial said. In the next coming weeks, Saline Memorial supporters will be asked to reach out to the community and inform them of the one-day event. This opportunity for giving is unique in that the money donated will be matched which Brumley hopes will encourage giving throughout the Saline County community and across Arkansas.
Visit arkansasgives.org for more information on the participating nonprofits and the logistics of giving. All major credit cards are accepted. Help grow the love of Arkansas nonprofits.