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Help nonprofits with ‘critical needs’ on Giving Tuesday?

Mark Parker



Michelle Detweiler, president and CEO of Parc Center for Disabilities, with some of the organization's residents. The nonprofit is in critical need of a water heater replacement. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday comes a spending holiday focused on helping strangers rather than stocking up on holiday goods – Giving Tuesday.

According to Investopedia, Giving Tuesday is a global initiative created in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. It focuses on altruism and awareness of those in need and serves as a countermeasure to the rampant consumerism immediately following Thanksgiving.

Despite a decentralized structure, the initiative has turned into a movement over the last decade. Investopedia reports that Giving Tuesday raised $2.7 billion in donations nationally last year, a 9% increase over 2020.

Wilma Norton, vice president for Community Foundation Tampa Bay (CFTB), called it heartwarming to see people think of the less fortunate when it seems like everyone is spending money on material things.

“In the philanthropy world, we think every day should be a giving day,” added Norton. “But we hope this is a good reminder to people that as you’re doing your holiday shopping, to think about the nonprofits. Who do so much work, day in and day out, to make this a great place for the people who live here.”

However, choosing a worthy cause can be a daunting task. Cause IQ lists 14,451 nonprofit organizations in the Tampa Bay metro area, which includes the Cities of Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg and Tampa. To ease the process, CFTB – a public charity – connects people, ideas and resources to create lasting impacts across the region.

CFTB’s website states that it awarded $355 million since its inception in 1990. It gave $72.1 million in grants to 1,371 nonprofits in FY 2022, with its yearly contribution totaling nearly $240 million. The foundation also participates in several community initiatives.

“Nonprofits are usually organizations that are built on a lot of passion and commitment to help those in need,” said Dr. Jesse Coraggio, senior vice president of community impact, in a previous interview. “But not always the resources they truly need to accomplish that mission.”

Critical needs in the community

CFTB awards dozens of annual competitive grants within five focus areas: Community Vibrancy, Economic mobility, Empowering Women and Girls, Mental Well-being and Positive Education. However, it also shares a Critical Needs List for nonprofits faced with an unexpected, unbudgeted issue that impedes operations.

Coraggio explained that CFTB created the first iteration of the list during the pandemic, and the organization decided to continue the initiative due to its popularity and success in mitigating unforeseen problems.

Donors can contribute directly to specific organizations and needs through the list, and CFTB expanded criteria to include support for Hurricane Ian recovery efforts last month.

“We’re giving our fundholders options on how to best serve the community from their own personal patterns and perspectives,” said Coraggio.

In addition, CFTB provides a 1-to-3 match to critical need gifts, meaning that if someone donates $1,500, the organization will add $500 to the total. It is a non-competitive process and includes requests for emergency repairs, replacing essential equipment and technology and external circumstances that hinder mission-critical services.

A line of people outside of St. Vincent de Paul’s CARE Center in St. Petersburg. The organization desperately needs a mobile kitchen. Photo provided.

Local organizations currently expressing critical needs include:

The Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg: $5,082.57 for a Healthy Meals Program refrigerator – 0% funded.

PARC, Inc.: $5,974 for a water heater replacement at its Intermediate Care Facility for “medically fragile” people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – 0% funded.

Boley Centers, Inc.: $146,806 for a roof replacement at the Bessie Boley Apartments, which provides subsidized housing for people with disabilities – 0% funded.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul South Pinellas, Inc.: $21,174 for a mobile kitchen to feed the hungry and poor – 49% funded.

For more information on funding a critical needs request, a specific nonprofit and to view the full list, visit the website here.

To give directly to one of CFTB’s many funds, visit the website here.



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