Recognizing local organizations on Big Day of Giving

Local News

The Big Day of Giving, a chance to help out local nonprofits, has arrived. The event is dedicated to those who go above and beyond for the Sacramento region.

Nearly 700 nonprofits in the area are seeking donors to support their favorite charitable causes.

The annual event has raised $52 million for local organizations since 2013, according to Sacramento Region Community Foundation. Despite tough times for many in 2020, Big Day of Giving brought in a record of over $12 million dollars to local nonprofits in 24 hours. They are hoping to keep that energy going this year. 

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation organizes Big Day of Giving as part of its initiative to grow philanthropic giving locally.

This year’s Big Day of Giving is coming at a crucial time. Like other businesses, nonprofits have been hard-hit by cascading crises over the past year, forcing them to lay off staff, cancel fundraisers and cut programs. Yet they have seen more need than ever before and even with significantly reduced resources, they’ve risen to help so many in our community through this moment. … On Big Day of Giving, our region will send a message loud and clear: We are a community that cares about giving back about helping others — no matter what.

Linda Beech Cutler, Chief Executive of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

Big Day of Giving: Celebration Arts

Karma Dickerson spoke to James Wheatley, the founder of Celebration Arts. Celebration Arts, which promotes music, theater, and dance training and performances, struggled to keep the lights on during the pandemic, but they still prioritized putting art in the community.

They performed plays virtually and encouraged people to watch on their website. 

“We miss you coming out here and the plays, but at least we’ll have that contact with you,” Wheatley said.

Big Day of Giving: Women’s Empowerment

Karma Dickerson spoke with Lisa Culp, the executive director of Women’s Empowerment.

Though Big Day of Giving in-person events were scaled down this year, Women’s Empowerment encouraged supporters to come out and write notes of encouragement to their clients. 

They offer women experiencing homelessness an eight-week training program to get them into more stable, higher-paying jobs.

“So they are trained in recession-resistant industries with pipeline employers and that way, especially during the pandemic with the double-digit unemployment numbers, we were being able to get women into jobs that were actually doing well during the recession,” Culp said.

The walls at Women’s Empowerment are filled with their success stories. Nearly 1,100 women have graduated from their program in their 20 years of service. 

They get grants for some of their programs but say they rely on fundraising drives like Big Day of Giving for basic operating costs. 

Big Day of Giving: Salvation Army Family Services

Karma Dickerson spoke to Capt. Emmanuel Masango with Salvation Army Family Services. She visited the warehouse in North Highlands where food box distribution takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sacramento County provides food to nearly 1,000 households per week and about 5,600 food boxes per month.

The Salvation Army is also hoping for the community’s continued generosity Thursday. 

Capt. Masango estimates there was an 800% increase in demand for their food assistance services last year. 

They commit that 80 cents of every dollar donated stays local.  

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