There’s more to the third month of the year than March Madness, brackets and NCAA hoop hopes.
In the First State, there’s “Do More 24 Delaware,” a 24-hour period of philanthropy benefiting scores of nonprofits.
This year, more than 350 Delaware charities are registered, hoping to cash in on the day of giving that runs from 6 p.m. March 4 through 6 p.m. March 5.
The event is being organized by United Way of Delaware and the Spur Impact Association — a group that connects young professionals, urging them to get involved and make an impact in the community — along with the Delaware Gives initiative.
Among the several hundred hopeful recipients are Milford’s Kent-Sussex Industries, which assists the disabled with employment, and The Shepherd’s Office, a gathering hub in Georgetown for those hungry and homeless.
“With fewer foundations, smaller grants and formerly localized investments now leaving the state, the impact of individuals like you is more important than ever in ensuring that high-quality employment, training and life-enrichment services are available to people with disabilities,” said KSI spokeswoman Ann Haggerty.
The Shepherd’s Office director also welcomes the support.
“Our team is working hard to do more for our guests who are homeless, hungry or lonely. And this Do More 24 contest is just what we need to offer the extra support during these difficult times for our guests,” said Jim Martin.
“If we do well in this 24-hour contest, then there are matching funds, stretch funds and hourly prizes that The Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown can win, and we could buy more items for our guests like bus passes, phone cards, tarps, socks, flashlights, batteries, tents, heaters, propane and, of course, food and other essential provisions to help people survive the outdoors.”
Pathways to Success, a nonprofit that serves students attending Cape Henlopen, Milford, Seaford and Sussex Technical high schools who are at risk of not graduating, also is participating this year. Pathways’ goal is to raise money for college-bound seniors’ dorm baskets with the necessities they need to succeed, said Fay Blake, founder and executive director of Pathways to Success.
Many of Pathways’ students are in the first generation to attend college and are considered underserved and low-income, Ms. Blake said, adding that transition from high school to college is a challenge, especially for these youth. Funds raised will also help to purchase books for their classes.
“We are so thankful for the United Way of Delaware and Spur Impact for creating and organizing Do More 24 Delaware,” she said. “Funds we raise will help these Pathways to Success students very much.”
In 2020, $389,452 was raised in 24 hours for 276 nonprofits, with 41% of participants reporting that they were first-time donors. Topping last year’s Do More 24 leader board with $33,721 was Family Promise of Northern New Castle County, whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness for families.
Georgetown-based Barbara K. Brooks Transition House, the 2019 top recipient, finished third overall last year with $28,240 through 235 donations, which was tops among the number of donations for all nonprofits.
The Shepherd’s Office, runner-up to Brooks Transition House in 2019, finished fifth last year with $15,225.
This year’s event is spiced with some country music incentive, as Delaware’s Jimmie Allen will perform in a VIP virtual benefit concert Friday at 8 p.m.
To help spur donations for Delaware’s nonprofits, the benefit concert will only be available to those who make a pledge of $50 or more as part of the Do More 24 Delaware event.
Limited concert tickets will be available for purchase until Monday for a $50 donation or more. All proceeds from advanced ticket sales will be used to supplement the event’s prizes, which will be awarded to nonprofits that receive donations during the 24-hour fundraising marathon.
The benefit concert is supported by the Delaware Division of the Arts, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, King Creative, Discover Bank, Barclays and other event sponsors and supporters.
The fundraiser also will feature several cash prizes that will be awarded to participating organizations over the 24-hour giving day.
As part of Discover Bank’s sponsorship, 20 nonprofits will win community impact prizes totaling $20,000. To be eligible for those prizes, nonprofits must have focused their efforts on one of a handful of sectors, such as housing and homelessness, economic development and community revitalization.
“Discover Bank is pleased to support Do More 24 Delaware,” said its President James J. Roszkowski. “One of our core values is ‘We succeed together,’ and we believe that supporting and encouraging nonprofits in their broader fundraising efforts ultimately creates stronger partnerships and more robust community services.”
All 501(c)(3) nonprofits serving Delaware are eligible to participate in Do More 24. Individuals can also create personal fundraising pages to support their favorite nonprofit.
During the giving day, donors can visit the Do More 24 Delaware website to search for their favorite nonprofit and donate. Many nonprofits will have their own match prizes in addition to being eligible for the event’s pool and other prizes.
A sample of other participants:
• Clear Space Theatre Co. — “The community you care about relies on your support to keep the lights on and the curtain up for performance on the Clear Space stage,” said Stephanie Hudson Whitcomb, Clear Space’s director of development and outreach.
• Read Aloud Delaware, a statewide children’s literacy program, which hopes supporters will donate early and often. “We’re hoping to receive at least 20 donations in that first hour,” said Read Aloud Delaware Executive Director James Spadola. “Last year, we raised $2,500 and won various prizes. This year, we already have had an anonymous donor step forward, who will match donations up to $2,500.”
• CHEER Inc., a Sussex County effort whose mission is “to promote and maintain the highest quality of life and independence by developing and providing services that meet the continuing needs of mature adults 50 and over.”