Valley Gives Day Highlights Area Needs

It’s an inspiring — and important — 24 hours.

It’s called Valley Gives, and organizers — including the event’s founder and host, the Community Foundation of Western Mass. — hope to top last year’s haul, when more than $1.6 million was donated to 450 nonprofit organizations in one day. Since Valley Gives was launched in 2012, nearly 20,000 donors, both local and far away, have opened their hearts and wallets to the tune of $7.2 million.

This year, the big day is Tuesday, May 2, and for 24 hours — from midnight until 11:59 p.m. — individuals are invited to log into valley-gives.org and, well, give. It couldn’t be easier: participants are asked to choose an organization or cause (or multiple ones) from Hampden, Hampshire, or Franklin county and how much they want to donate.

The goal of Valley Gives is threefold: to raise money for organizations throughout the Pioneer Valley that serve the needs and address the aspirations of its communities, to expand and enhance philanthropy and the spirit of giving throughout the region, and to provide support and tools to organizations in the region to effectively increase their capacity to raise funds and share their stories.

It’s a deceptively simple idea, in that it highlights for one day just how great the needs of nonprofits are, how many such organizations there are, and how expansive their work is. The existence of Valley Gives doesn’t mean residents of Western Mass. aren’t generous year-round; they certainly are. But by turning giving into an event — a festival of funding, if you will — it brings extra awareness, and financial support, to needs people may not have considered before. And the online nature of the event is easier than even writing and mailing a check.

The organizations benefiting from Valley Gives have a varied and broad range of missions, but all are focused on their community’s hopes and needs. And all are counting on the generosity of their neighbors.

Let the giving begin.

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