Local nonprofits participate in Give Ozarks Day

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logo-distressed-fullNearly 150 nonprofit agencies, including our own Friends of the Garden, will participate in the region’s first-ever 24-hour online giving day during Give Ozarks on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks and BKD Wealth Advisors are presenting this region-wide effort to raise awareness of philanthropy, encourage online donations to participating nonprofits and offer prizes and matching funds.

The non-profit agencies will raise online donations from midnight to midnight on May 5 at giveozarks.org for a variety of needs that will improve services and opportunities for Ozarks residents.

Nonprofits also will be eligible for $92,950 in prize money raised from generous sponsors; prizes are based on both their success raising funds and also the number of supporters who make online donations on May 5. Through a competitive application process, 24 nonprofits were selected to receive matching grants from the CFO for up to $5,000 each to raise money for endowment funds that help build long-term financial stability. Collectively, nonprofits will be eligible for about $220,000 in these bonus funds and non-cash prizes.

The CFO will host a free, community event from 4-7 p.m., May 5, at Jordan Valley Park. Kids’ activities, including Cinco de Mayo dances, food and other entertainment will take place as nonprofit agencies share their projects and goals for Give Ozarks. The Springfield Cardinals, a Give Ozarks sponsor, will give away Cardinals/Give Ozarks T-shirts to the first 3,500 fans attending the 6:30 p.m. game that evening against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Making a secure donation is simple. From midnight to midnight on May 5, donors can log onto giveozarks.org and search for a specific nonprofit or a cause they support to complete a basic credit-card donation. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS.

“Although philanthropy and charitable giving know no season, we are very excited for the opportunity to focus on a day to emphasize giving,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “The dollar benefits might accrue only for a day, but the possibility of new awareness of our non-profits, a new understanding of the good things they do, and an appreciation of charitable support should grow throughout the year.”

May 5 is Give Local America Day, when community foundations across the country will be holding similar online fundraising events to boost resources for their local nonprofits, encourage new donors and raise awareness of philanthropy in general. Online giving days, a growing movement in the field of philanthropy, have raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations during the past six years. The Give Ozarks site was created by Mostly Serious, a Springfield-based web development firm.

Along with the CFO and BKD Wealth Advisors, the platinum sponsors include The Musgrave Foundation, The Commerce Trust Co./Coover Charitable Foundation and Ron and Janice Penney along with a host of Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors detailed at giveozarks.org. Media partners include KY3, 105.9 KGBX, the Springfield News-Leader, and Ozarks Public Broadcasting (KSMU, KOZK and KOZJ).

Founded in 1973, CFO is a regional public charitable foundation, which includes 46 affiliate foundations and nearly 600 nonprofit partners and schools.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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