Column: Give to nonprofits on Give Day

One of the nonprofits participating, Neighborly Care Network, provides meals and transportation services to Pinellas seniors. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
One of the nonprofits participating, Neighborly Care Network, provides meals and transportation services to Pinellas seniors.JIM DAMASKE | Times
Published April 28 2017

Give Day Tampa Bay, the area's 24-hour online giving challenge, returns for a fourth year on Tuesday, offering both companies and individuals an opportunity to support one of nearly 500 nonprofits that are making a difference in our community every day.

It is so easy to give — simply visit and choose the nonprofit you would like to support. At the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, which presents Give Day, it's inspiring for us to see how many organizations are planning events and finding other creative ways to take full advantage of Give Day media attention to showcase the good work they do.

USAmeriBank, the premier sponsor of Give Day, is hosting a free-coffee event with Buddy Brew at the bank's Westshore location from 7 to 9 a.m. Carter Validus is matching any of its employees' donations made that day. The Kendra Scott store in Hyde Park Village is donating 20 percent of its sales that day to various nonprofits.

Area restaurants are also getting involved. Shriners Hospitals for Children is partnering with the Portillos locations in Brandon and Tampa, where 25 percent of proceeds from 5 to 8 p.m. will go to the hospitals. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is receiving a portion of the day's sales at six Burger Monger locations. At Burger 21 in Carrollwood, proceeds from sales that day will go to the Community Food Pantry.

And a number of organizations, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Gobioff Foundation, AARP, TECO Energy and the DeBartolo Family Foundation, are helping to fund prizes for nonprofits that have the most unique donors on Give Day.

Why does this support matter? The involvement of the business community on Give Day is critical to the Tampa Bay area to magnify the results and publicly boost corporate giving that trails other U.S. areas. Philanthropy is good for business and good for our region. It demonstrates the active engagement of citizens — both individual and corporate — in building strong, vibrant communities.

Many of the nonprofits are groups you may have heard about, such as Metropolitan Ministries, SPCA Tampa Bay and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. But among the 495 nonprofits involved, there are also organizations you may not have heard of that are also doing important work.

Just as three examples:

• Blanket Tampa Bay donates blankets to Tampa's homeless in the winter and provides rain gear in the summer months.

• Redlands Christian Migrant Association operates child-care centers and charter schools for Florida's rural poor. In the Tampa Bay area, it serves 3,100 children.

• Neighborly Care Network has been helping seniors in Pinellas County for 50 years by providing Meals on Wheels, adult day care and transportation services.

There are nonprofits in all sorts of areas, from helping animals to supporting children's education to feeding those who can't afford to provide their families proper nutrition.

We urge you to get involved. Attend one of the events being held on Give Day, or eat at one of the restaurants supporting the cause. Find ways to spread the word at your place of business. Go on social media and tell your friends whom you gave to and why, and ask them to support a cause they care about.

And above all, make a donation to the nonprofit of your choice on Tuesday. All of the money donated on Give Day —less a small credit card processing fee — will be given to the nonprofit for which it is intended. Truly, every dollar makes a difference.

Marlene Spalten is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. The Community Foundation connects donors and community leaders with nonprofits to maximize positive impact in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.