Community Foundation Launches Annual Giving Week Initiative

SHARON, Pa., ­– Benefiting 66 local organizations and charities doing good things in the area, the annual PA OH Gives event kicked off Saturday, organized by the Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH.

Through Giving Week, which runs through Friday, the Community Foundation provides the opportunity for businesses, organizations and individuals to make donations, large and small, to not-for-profit organizations to support their local efforts.

Those donations will be compounded by more than $150,000 in matching money available.

The event allows accessibility to anyone wanting to make a donation, Kyle English, the foundation’s executive director, said. Last year, the smallest donation received was $10 and the largest was $100,000.

“Any amount of money someone is able to give is appreciated by these organizations,” he said.

Throughout the week, there will be giving challenges to provide additional fun to the event and incentives for those participating. From the First Mover incentive, who made the donation to kick off the event to The Closer, who makes the last contribution, the organizations winning the challenge will get an additional $500 toward their donation totals.

One challenge is for the organization receiving the 81st donation, because 1981 is the year the Community Foundation was founded.

English said charities with contacts in Alaska and Hawaii should be making a call, because whichever organization receives a donation from the farthest place from the Community Foundation’s headquarters in Sharon, Pa. will receive the Go the Distance $500 match.   

Those interested in making a donation are invited to visit the foundation’s website and select from the list of charities. Each participating charity has put together an organizational profile and, in some cases, information about how the money will be used.

The list includes organizations that provide assistance for those in need of food and housing, as well as support for animal charities, scholarships, parks and the arts. Perusing the list provides opportunities to learn about new charities or an evolving goal or mission of an organization.

“There is a vast array of programs,” English said. “Some are asking for unrestricted funding and others are more specific.”

The event began in August 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic made traditional fundraising events more difficult to hold. English said it was a concept to entice organizations and individuals to give, especially those who may not have had another opportunity to do so.

“The response has been amazing,” he said.

That year, the event successfully raised just over $575,000 for local charities. A year later, more than $1.27 million was raised through the week-long event, money that came in through 1,911 separate donations.

Partnering with the Community Foundation for this year’s event are The Zekelman Fund, The Dr. Robert and Vera Lartz Charitable Foundation, the O’Brien Children Memorial Fund, Anderson Charitable Foundation, Winner Foundation, FNB Wealth Management, Primary Health Network, Meszaros Family Foundation and the Charles and Margaret Verholek Foundation. Those organizations are sponsoring the matching funding.

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