OLEAN — Throughout today, individuals affiliated or helped by 65 to 70 non-profit organizations in the community will be hopeful that the inaugural Cattaraugus Gives program will bring much-needed funding support.
The program, conducted by Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation in Olean, began accepting online donations for the non-profits at midnight.
On Monday, Kirk Windus, communication and fund development coordinator for the foundation, said the number of participating non-profit agencies grew from the original listing of 60.
Those who want to view the participating non-profits and donate can visit cattaraugusgives.org and click on the large donate button in the middle of the screen.
Windus said 10 businesses and two individuals initially stepped up to help sponsor aspects of the program that included monetary prizes for the non-profits.
He said the prizes changed thanks to additional donations from a business in the community.
“We added one new prize and changed the amount of one because Both Branch & Hendrix came in with a $1,000 check to sponsor two $500 prizes,” Windus said. “That gave us more money to add toward the big donor prize.”
He said the top prizes for the non-profits which garner the most donations in various categories is $2,000. The second top prize is $1,000. In all, there is $12,000 in prize money that is up for grabs for the non-profits, therefore donations, no matter the size, can have a huge impact, Windus said.
He further explained the prize categories include the organization that receives the most donors during the day, as well as the most donors during certain time frames of the day.
The fundraiser, which previously had been operated under the auspices of the now disbanded New York Gives Day fundraiser, which had been held on Tuesdays in the past and was taken over locally by the Foundation this year.
“It’s a really good way to kick-off (the giving season) and Giving Tuesday has been a big part of that movement,” Windus explained. “And that’s why we decided to keep Cattaraugus Gives on that day. It’s a celebration here locally of philanthropy and the services the nonprofits provide.”
The non-profits helped through the program include a variety of organizations from the Allegany Public Library to the Olean Rotary Club, which in itself helps many charities locally and worldwide.