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GivingTuesday raises funds for nonprofits

Groups seek donations to advance causes

It’s not necessarily how much money you make, said Centrum’s Robert Birman, but how much you care about an organization’s mission.

Such is the rule on GivingTuesday, today’s international event during which Jefferson and Clallam counties participate.

“We have some donors who give a dollar a month. We have some who give six-figure gifts,” Birman said of Centrum, which hosts music, writing and art events at Fort Worden State Park.

Those contributors share a love for the mission stated at Centrum.org: to foster creative arts experiences that change lives. With their support, “we’re gearing up to do complete, full-scale online programming” of all Centrum events in 2021, Birman said.

Whatever the cause local residents believe in, there’s likely to be a nonprofit group under the GivingTuesday umbrella. Want to help struggling neighbors keep warm this winter? The Jefferson County PUD Rainy Day Fund (jeffpud.org) invites you to donate by adding any dollar amount to your monthly bill.

Looking to strengthen the non-motorized trail stretching across Jefferson and Clallam counties? A donation at OlympicDiscoveryTrail.org helps pay for trailside portable toilets and the signs soon to go up across Jefferson County.

“We’ve just finalized arrangements,” said Peninsula Trails Coalition president Jeff Bohman, “to put signs along Discovery Bay, along Highway 20 near Jacob Miller Road and on Discovery Road, directing people to trailheads.”

The gift of volunteer time likewise means a lot, he said, adding families can adopt stretches of trail. It’s a way to promote and participate in year-round outdoor exercise.

United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County (GiveJefferson.org) pulls donations together to support 28 local human-services organizations, from St. Vincent de Paul to the Weekend Nutrition Program for children.

“Lots of people have been without income for the last few months,” said UGN’s Siobhan Canty; her organization connects them to help with rent and other basic living expenses.

UGN and Centrum both receive matching dollars for all donations — Centrum from an anonymous foundation and UGN from All In WA, the statewide COVID-19 response philanthropy.

Marked on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, GivingTuesday began in 2012 as the start of the charitable giving season. Last year nonprofits in this country reaped $511 million in online support, with total U.S. donations approaching $2 billion.

This year those website-based contributions are crucial: Nonprofit organizations aren’t having in-person holiday events.

“We’re all in this together, working to stabilize and build stronger, more resilient communities,” said Sheila Everett, program director of Sequim’s Olympic View Community Foundation.

“We hope Giving Tuesday will harness the power of our generous community, to meet the unprecedented needs of 2020, and help create an even better place to live.

“Because of the pandemic this year, nonprofits are having to do more with less,” she said, all while they’ve lost income, staff and volunteers.”

This final month of the year, charitable giving can be the lifeblood for nonprofits. Nearly one-third of all annual donations happen in December, as they can be deducted from the donor’s taxes when it comes time for filing a 2020 return.

The need for community support stretches across all sectors of the local economy, from early childhood education and scholarship programs, food banks to theater groups, wildlife conservation programs to senior centers and veterans’ organizations. Both counties have research centers working for a healthy Pacific Ocean: the Port Townsend Marine Science Center at Fort Worden and the Feiro Marine Life Center on City Pier in Port Angeles.

“We’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity,” said Melissa Williams, the Feiro’s executive director.

“The response and support during the pandemic has been heartwarming and critically important.”

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].

Sequim Gazette Editor Michael Dashiell contributed to this report.

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