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Fauquier nonprofits mark May 6 for fundraising blitz

Friday, Apr. 25 | By Ray Finefrock
More than 50 non-profit organizations in Fauquier County have May 6 circled on their calendars.

On that day the “Give Local Piedmont” campaign, spearheaded by the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, will host an online day of giving that could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars for area non-profits. The local campaign is part of the Give Local America initiative, which promotes thousands of local events nationwide.

“The four counties we serve – Fauquier, Culpeper, Madison and Rappahannock, together have more than 100 community foundations that could benefit from this day,” said Cole Johnson, executive director of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. “Fifty-six of those organizations are in Fauquier County.”

The event is new here, but has been a success elsewhere in the commonwealth. Two weeks ago, Johnson said, Alexandria raised more than one million dollars in just its fourth year. That is 10 times what they raised in the first year.

The 24-hour event, starting on midnight May 6 and ending at 11:59 p.m., has contests and friendly competition resulting in additional funds for participating charities. There will be “golden tickets” drawn each hour with a charity receiving an extra $500 as well as four designated “power hours” when an additional $750 will be given out.

“We facilitate philanthropy,” said Johnson of the mission of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. “We want to grow the philanthropy pie for all of the non-profits in the communities we serve. This is all about engaging new people and we're using social media to engage young people who don't usually give. We want to make it easier for them. For as little as $10 anyone can be a philanthropist!”

Johnson said participating non-profits serve a wide range of causes from education and the arts to the environment, medical and dental care and mental health.

Melissa German is executive director of Fauquier Community Child Care, one such organization.

“It is so special to have all of these non-profits involved,” she said via phone Monday afternoon.. “People can donate and feel good about their gifts, whether large or small. It's a very simple process.”

German said that gifts are designated for the non-profit that the donor wishes to support.

“They just scroll through a list an will see us as one of the options,” she said. “This is a great opportunity to have a sense of coalition with other non-profits, especially the smaller ones.”

German said the administrative support provided by the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation is also helpful.

“A lot of small non-profits can't afford to process credit card payments,” she said. “It helps that they take the administrative role.”

Give Local Piedmont marks the centennial anniversary of Community Foundations in America. In 1914, the first Community Foundation was founded in Cleveland. Northern Piedmont Community Foundation has played an active role in the Piedmont Region since 2000.

Johnson said Give Local Piedmont is underwritten by the Michael and Nancy Baudhuin Foundation, the Cole Foundation and the William and Mary Greve Foundation. Even sponsors include K Art & Design, McKinsey Development, Piedmont Virginia, Piedmont United Way, the State Theatre of Culpeper, Union First Market Bank and Xpress Copy and Graphics.

Donations are tax-deductible and must be made via debit or credit card at: http://www.givelocalpiedmont.org.

“If you go online you can either go to the organization you want to support or write in their name,” Johnson said.

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