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Nov 9 - Dec 31, 2023

Keeping Up

Monterey County Gives! keeps growing,
in both number of donors and dollars raised. 

By Dan Baldwin

Monterey County Gives! has an indelible imprint on local year-end giving. For all the great work of the Community Foundation for Monterey in grantmaking, disaster response, scholarships, etc., MCGives! is the topic most often brought up to me. It inspires; the energy supporting the work of nonprofits lifts all our spirits.

The current iteration of MCGives! started in 2009, when it raised about $418,000. It was a point of pride. In those days, people sent checks in the mail. In 2010 we introduced the website and online giving, and raised $629,000. We thought we’d hit the high-water mark; it was crazy to think it could get any larger. We also utilized a David and Lucile Packard Foundation grant to hire a consultant who would train participating nonprofits on how to utilize social media to seek donations. That now sounds quaint, but what we didn’t know was that the expertise in rallying donors would create important horsepower. Last year, 7,698 donors participated, 476 of them ages 18 to 35.

The overall matching fund has always been part of MCGives! In 2010, it consisted of donations from the Packard Foundation, Neumeier Poma Investment Counsel, the Weekly and CFMC; it came to about $125,000. This produced a pro-rata match of 20 percent, meaning if you gave $100 to Community Partnership for Youth, the group received $120.

We have always known the match inspires more giving. When the Monterey Peninsula Foundation joined as a major partner through a grant to the match pool, the campaign experienced its first big jump, going from $1.3 million raised to $3.2 million.

The challenge is having the match pool keep pace with growth. If the match is an incentive to give, it needs to be material.  

New partners have joined along the way: the Ernie and Gunde Posey Family Foundation, Colby and Alana Jones Foundation, Cannery Row Company, and more.  

The remarkable total raised in  2022 ($11.2 million!) got me thinking about whether others would want their logos affixed to MCGives! Not only would it create a larger match pool, but it would show widespread support from significant donors in our community to bolster this philanthropic project that invites small donations from people giving at all levels. Requests to the Harden Foundation and Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Foundation resulted in quick yeses, and a conversation with Bruce Taylor turned into major support from Taylor Farms. If I had any doubts about the growing MCGives! “brand,” they went away when an anonymous donor contributed $500,000. This year’s pool will be larger than ever.

I invite you to join in this philanthropic effort. Learn about the critical work of the 206 nonprofits in the pages that follow, and please support them at whatever level you can.  Monterey County will be better for it.

Dan Baldwin is president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.