The Day That Kept On Giving

Community Foundation of Louisville staff, Emory Williamson and Deja Jackson, working behind the scenes to promote a day-long series of virtual Facebook Live interviews with participating nonprofits and partners.

How the Community Foundation’s annual day of giving hit record numbers despite the pandemic


By Elizabeth Scinta


When preparing for this year’s annual Give For Good Louisville Day, the Community Foundation of Louisville’s executive team anticipated a much lower turnout, in terms of donations and donors, than years past. However, much to their surprise, Give for Good day on Sept. 17 far exceeded all expectations. “Over $7.7 million was raised which was a record, as well as the most donors — over 22,000 — which was also a record,” said Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville.

In a time when a global pandemic has struck the nation, instead of turning away from local nonprofits, Louisvillians came out in full force to help keep 500+ nonprofit organizations afloat. Most nonprofits had to cancel their in-person galas and events, so for most, Give for Good was one of their only fundraising opportunities this year.

“What they [the nonprofit community] really appreciated, was that we went ahead with it and totally retooled our training in the weeks prior. It was all digital, but we helped them be successful on the day by helping them set goals, crafting fundraising language, social media storytelling and tips on how to engage their donors. I think that the hidden gem in all of this is really what happens leading up to giving day which is as important as the day itself. The nonprofits were very appreciative of that,” said Gallo.

Molly Melia, Give For Good Louisville project manager, leading the 2020 giving day virtually for the first time in the event’s seven year history.

Give for Good day was virtual this year due to the pandemic, and although it was different from years past, Gallo believes the Community Foundation will continue to implement some of the social media tactics they used this year in the future. “I think that with Give for Good we will retain some of the digital interactions because it works so well. The proof is in the pudding!” said Gallo. “We’re always looking to do it better and better, but I think the main thing that might carry over is a mix of continuing to do things digitally at a distance and through social media. But I’m sure we will also — because it’s so much fun — be out in the field again when it is safe to do so.”

For River City Drum Corp, Give for Good day could not have come at a better time. They were preparing to launch a brand new fundraising campaign this year when COVID-19 hit. They raised over their set fundraising goal of $15,000 for the day and ended with $16,020 thanks to the people of Louisville.

River City Drum Corp. Photo by Taris Smith.

“With it being a strange year, at this point, it’s going towards operations. I would assume that in years past we’d be able to do some special programming or give our kids access to some special event at no cost. But with everything slowing down and us not being able to do things normally, we just want to ensure that we are able to remain sustainable in this difficult period,” said Jerome Baker, the associate director of River City Drum Corp.

For Hosparus Health, the day resulted in an equally successful fundraising push. The organization raised just over $22,000 on Give for Good day according to Tawanda Owsley, the vice president of development for Hosparus Health. Hosparus Health canceled its annual Candle Glow Gala this year, but on Nov. 6, they’re launching a brand new fundraising campaign. They encourage interested parties to visit their website and social media channels to learn more about the People of Compassion Campaign.

“Right now is a critical time for the community to support all of the nonprofits in our community. We all need help more than ever. We are continuing to provide services to the community and we need the community to support us as we want to continue to be able to provide those services,” said Owsley. Have a favorite nonprofit organization? Check out their website to see ways you can help. Unsure of who to support? Go to Give for Good’s website to learn about 500+ nonprofit organizations in Louisville that need your help at giveforgoodlouisville.org.

Community Foundation of Louisville
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Waterfront Plaza, West Tower
Louisville, KY 40202