Rising to the Occasion
Nonprofits do critical work in our community, and the need during hard times keeps on rising.
By Dan Baldwin and Steve John
Welcome to Monterey County Gives! 2021. A year ago we were deep in the abyss of Covid-19, hearing only whispers about an impending vaccination program. Businesses and families who had seen tremendous hardship were still faced with uncertainty. Many nonprofits had canceled fundraisers and were scrambling to make year-end budgets balance. This threatened their ability to provide needed services to families facing food insecurity, the homeless and those needing better access to health care, just to name a few – and while those vulnerable community members needed these services more than ever during the height of the pandemic.
It was downright gloomy.
The bright light that helped turn dusk into day was Monterey County Gives! The 2018 and 2019 campaigns had raised a whopping $5.4 million each, and those years didn’t have a coronavirus tugging at the pant leg of the economy. So what happened?
Donors in 2020 responded with an astounding $7.89 million coming from 7,576 donors. This was not only a staggering display of generosity, but also a recognition that supporting the work of our nonprofits is how we strive to make Monterey County an equitable, healthy place for all its residents.
And here we are a year later. Uncertainty still lingers, despite Monterey County’s impressive vaccination rate (thanks to all who got jabbed!) and Monterey County Gives! is again going to play a critical role in providing the lifeline of support to nonprofits working in every aspect of Monterey County.
Can we repeat – or dare to say – exceed 2020’s fundraising turnout? Let’s not just hope, let’s strive to raise more critical dollars for the essential work the 170 nonprofits in this campaign are doing. You’ll see a significant increase in the MCGives! match pool this year, thanks to a generous new donor, the Gunde and Ernie Posey Family Foundation. Additionally, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation arranged for the use of Spyglass Hill Golf Course on Sept. 26 as a benefit for MCGives! Seventy-five percent of the green fees that day went toward the match. A larger matching fund inspires more gifts as it increases the pro rata match. Growing this pool is a year-round conversation between the Community Foundation for Monterey County, Monterey Peninsula Foundation and the Monterey County Weekly.
Monterey County Gives! is important every year, but maybe especially so in 2021. It has been a long haul since March 2020 when our lives changed so dramatically. And while we’re all eager to put this episode behind us, we must remember that even before Covid-19, many in our communities faced enormous challenges, and supporting our nonprofit community was key to making Monterey County even stronger. Let’s renew that commitment and help make MCGives! 2021 the best ever.