As the region’s only locally-focused guide to giving and volunteering, the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington’s goal is to create visibility for small nonprofits and fuel their growth with philanthropic dollars.
After raising more than $1 million for its network of vetted charities in 2020 — a record amount — the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington is looking towards #GivingTuesday on Nov. 30 with hopes of providing even more help to those in need.
“We’re hoping to build on the success of last year, when we raised more than $1 million for the first time,” says Matt Gayer, co-executive director of the Catalogue. “It’s a sign that word-of-mouth and grassroots efforts are working because it takes so many folks to help reach that level of fundraising.”
Traditionally, 40 percent of all donations happen in November and December, and Gayer is hoping that people remain engaged and keep their charitable natures high in 2021 as there are many urgent needs that still exist in the local community.
“The big thing in going into #GivingTuesday is reminding people that while a lot of our lives have started to go back to normal, the recovery is going to be a long one,” Gayer says. “The communities in our region were facing issues before Covid, they are facing issues recovering from Covid and it’s going to take a long time to get back.”
The Catalogue works with approximately 450 organizations in its overall network, with about 215 nonprofits in the D.C. region highlighted specifically for Giving Tuesday’s campaign.
Since its founding in 2003, the organization has raised more than $45 million for its chosen charities. Nonprofits are chosen by a team of more than 150 experts who assess each charity for its impact, community need and financial transparency.
The money raised last year did a great deal of good for nonprofits who had the extra burden of the pandemic to deal with, and made clear how impactful the Catalogue could be for the District.
For instance, For the Love of Children (FLOC), which provides out-of-classroom educational services to D.C.’s under-resourced youth, developed a virtual educational portal that allowed for 1:1 tutoring, which resulted in an unprecedented 100 percent retention of their students and showed outstanding academic improvement among them.
“This is a great example and representative of many of our partners during the pandemic,” Gayer says. “They were able to get creative about the needs of their clients. They pivoted to a virtual model and had amazing success. Even today, they are close to that retention.”
Some of Catalogue’s educational partners raised money to help families pay rent so families could stay in apartments and students could still attend classes by Zoom.
Pet lovers gave big to Lucky Dog Rescue, a D.C.-based animal rescue which worked hard to not only find homes for animals but heavily vet and educate adopting families to prevent those animals from being returned to shelters. The nonprofit saw adoptions explode during the pandemic.
“This is a great example of one of our non-profits doing what they do, but just doing a lot more of it,” Gayer says. “They really focused on education for first-time adopters, which at no point has been more important. A lot of folks were looking to get a Covid pet but weren’t thinking about caring for the animal when things started to reopen. They added 25 percent more volunteers to help find these animals forever homes and [hope] that the adoptions would stick.”
The donations also made a big difference for Blackrock Center for the Arts, a cultural, visual and performing arts center in Germantown, Maryland, which transformed its performance space into a regional food hub that distributed thousands of meals to local families in need. That will continue this year, even though it will start remounting artistic programs as well.
“They realized there was a fracture in the food distribution system and nonprofits had to go to a lot of different places to deliver food to people, so they used their space to host food donations to go out into the community in one centralized spot,” Gayer says. “The spirit of their creativity and the lessons they learned from doing it will 100 percent remain in the work that they do.”
“People can go to the site and find a cause that speaks to them,” Gayer says. “There are also volunteer opportunities. This is the perfect time to step up and show support. Any gift matters. The power of any gift can make a big difference.”
All gifts made on #GivingTuesday at www.givelocaltogether.org will go directly to any local D.C. organization that one chooses. But the donations don’t end there. At any time, people can donate money on the Catalogue’s site at www.cfp-dc.org.
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