Giving Tuesday gives agencies a boost

Local organizations are thankful for global movement bolstering donations

Staff photo by Grace Pecci Deb Tighe, director of Development and Communications at Gateways Community Service, awaits Giving Tuesday donations. Giving Tuesday is a movement that emphasizes giving back to local organizations in your community.

NASHUA – Donations for local organizations came in throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, a global movement that recognizes the importance of giving back in the community.

United Way of Greater Nashua President Mike Apfelberg said as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, nearly $5,000 had been donated for six different agencies. Additionally, for Giving Tuesday, Facebook partnered with PayPal to match a total of up to $7 million in donations made on Facebook to eligible US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

Apfelberg said their donation fundraising “like” will remain open until the end of the week. The link can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/donate/287647081878355/.

The United Way is directing those interested in giving to one of several organizations, including Meals Matter, Santa Fund, Grow Nashua, Friends of My Brothers Keeper, One Greater Nashua, Meals for Kids, Sinfonietta Strings, Nashua Prevention Coalition and Rohingya Cultural Preservation. Donors may also choose to give to the United Way Community Impact Fund, which supports “16 different nonprofits locally fighting for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.”

Nashua Coalition Project Director Janet Valuk said she believes the community needs to know what resources are available in the Nashua area and that every little bit helps nonprofit organizations. Valuk said the coalition will be using donations to support their Youth Development and Leadership programs.

“As part of our prevention efforts, we are focusing on the youth in our community becoming leaders,” Valuk said. “We found that rather than telling youth, ‘Just say no to drugs,’ young people that have leadership skills and have built their self-esteem tend to be drug and alcohol-free throughout their adolescence.”

The money will go toward a youth video project the coalition is running, in which young people can develop a 60-second public service announcement. The viewing will be hosted at Chunky’s Nashua Cinema & Pub.

Grow Nashua Executive Director Justin Monroe said the funds that come through Giving Tuesday will go to operating expenses. Monroe said all too often, the organization is faced with wonderful opportunities of buying equipment or wood for building urban farming spaces.

“Without the complementary donation of dollars that can be used to grow your nonprofit in a healthy way, there really is no growth,” Monroe said.

He said Giving Tuesday is important in unifying the community.

“The thing that I like, on a personal level, is I think it really makes you take a minute to think about what exists out there. And especially, looking very locally in Nashua, here there are a ton of amazing nonprofits doing really great work that is helping people get a leg up in whatever way that is,” Monroe said. “It’s easy to lose track of what’s important. We are one big community.”

Another local nonprofit organization looking for the help of donations this is Gateways Community Service, which provides services for children, adults, seniors and those with Autism.

Deb Tighe, director of development and communications for the nonprofit, said this is the organization’s third year participating Giving Tuesday.

Tighe said they are hoping to get even 10 percent more than they did last year. However, Tighe said because the organization serves so many people in multiple programs, officials tend to set aside their Giving Tuesday donations for a particular project.

This year’s donations will go to their program, Partners in Health, which supports children who are chronically or terminally ill. This year in particular, they are supporting a 16-year-old Nashua resident named Olivia, who is terminally ill. The organization is looking to raise funds for her and her family to travel to New York City to go skating at Rockefeller Center. Tighe said this program is similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but on a much smaller scale.

The year prior, the organization used Giving Tuesday donations to help their Ramp it Up project. With the donations, officials were able to purchase a ramp for a young boy with cerebral palsy. He came from a low-income household and his family could not afford to put in a ramp. He had to be lifted in and out of his wheelchair by family members constantly.

“The donations helped with raising money for him to easily get in and out of his wheelchair without his parents,” Tighe said.

Tighe said Giving Tuesday is a great campaign that gives people a chance to dedicate time to giving back.

“I think personally, Giving Tuesday is all about pausing all the shopping we are doing and saying, ‘Hey, why don’t we also think about those in need?'”

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.