One fast and furious day of giving yields record-breaking donations for local nonprofits

During a 24-hour flurry of fundraising, the Bay Area Community Foundation (BACF) assisted 48 local nonprofits in raising a record-breaking

In all, people donated more than $132,000 to the Give Local Bay event on May 4. Sponsors kicked in additional money as prizes, raising the one-day total to $161,000.

The seventh annual Give Local Bay event on May 4 gave community members the opportunity to donate to the Bay or Arenac county nonprofits of their choice. For the second consecutive year, the community responded with unprecedented giving.

With the support of presenting sponsor LiUNA - Laborers’ Local 1098, prize sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and a multitude of other sponsoring partners, the event was able to offer prizes and competitions that kept people engaged and excited about giving throughout the day.

Lisa Krause, Donor Relations Officer for BACF, marvels at the charity displayed from midnight to midnight.

“We were blown away by the generosity and engagement shown by our community," Krause says. "We weren’t sure if we could match the success of last year’s event, but were so inspired by the way donors and supporters came together to help these important organizations continue their work. These organizations work to address so many different needs and challenges in Bay and Arenac counties.”

A total of 762 donors gave almost 1,200 gifts to the nonprofit organizations in what Krause calls a “COVID-proof” online event. During this fast and furious fundraiser, nonprofits spread the word on social media and also compete for 12 different $250 prizes, including “Most Creative Post,” awarded to both Hell’s Half Mile Events and the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, and the “LiUNA-Local 1098 Sponsor Prize,” awarded to the Bay City Rowing Club.

Krause recognizes that getting the word out about the event is key. Not only did the nonprofits do their part in publicizing Give Local Bay 2021, but Krause credits much of the day’s success to BACF’s Communications Officer, Kirsten Wild, who was instrumental in getting the message out to the public.

Much like BACF’s posted mission “ fulfill a wide array of donors’ charitable wishes by building permanent endowment funds and serving as a leader for community improvement through effective grantmaking and collaboration,” the main goal of Give Local Bay is to build up endowment funds for local nonprofits to assist in long-term sustainability.

In light of difficult times in 2020 and 2021, however, BACF pivoted. For two years, BACF made a portion of the funds earned immediately available.

Krause says, “Last year, due to the challenges and uncertainties presented by COVID-19, we changed the program to allow nonprofits to request disbursement of all money raised day-of, prizes and incentive pool dollars for their use immediately, if their organizations chose.”

“This year, we are working back toward the original goal of building endowment – but still sensitive to the many challenges these groups continue to face. So dollars raised day-of will be available for disbursement, but any prizes won or incentive pool earnings will go into their endowment funds.”

As time for fundraising drew to a close on May 4, the event was capped off with an outdoor gathering dubbed “Raise a Glass to Give Local Bay” at Drydock Beer Garden in downtown Bay City.

“It’s so nice to come together at the end of the day, keep an eye on the leaderboards and celebrate," Krause says. "Drydock also offered a great chance for us to expand our audience and let new people know about Give Local.”

The top earners for 2021 were BaySail, Ye Olde Courthouse/Arenac County Historical Society, and the Bay City Rowing Club, with BaySail alone raising a whopping $12,095, according to the Give Local Bay website.  

Bay City native Michael Bacigalupo says he cannot overstate the importance of the Give Local event. Bacigalupo heads up the State Theatre of Bay City/Bay County, United Way of Bay County, Bay County Historical Museum, Bay Arts Council, and Wenonah Park Maintenance and Operations Fund, all of which were involved in this year’s Give Local Bay Event.

“Without a doubt, it has been beneficial to all of the nonprofits. To be honest with you, Give Local Bay does a phenomenal job and they make sure that all of these nonprofits have another opportunity to create more money for their funds in just one day,” Bacigalupo says. 

A sense of community pride is evident in the way Bacigalupo speaks about the event’s donors: “Every nonprofit benefits from this because the generosity of Bay County and beyond is phenomenal. Having record breaking years two years in a row says something about this community. It says ‘We’re going to help.’ And they did.” 

In a year filled with obstacles and challenges, Krause and the entire Bay Area Community Foundation were delighted with the way the Bay and Arenac county communities rallied together for good. 

“Our community’s support is vital to the success of this event," Krause says. "Without our sponsors and incredible community of generous donors, the numbers on the screen would not change. Because of the faith these donors have in each one of these organizations and Bay Area Community Foundation, they show up and continue to give back.”

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