Today's the day: Give Local York aims to capture energy of live events for 24 hours of online fundraising

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Give Local York will be virtual this year, showcasing live music and providing activities for families via an online-only format through livestream broadcasts and Zoom video conferences.

Despite making adjustments in order to maintain social distancing guidelines in the wake of COVID-19, the annual fundraising event on Friday will remain virtually the same, event organizers said.

"The mechanism for giving has always been online. That doesn't change, and that's always been in place," said Meagan Given, the event organizer. "We're now trying to re-create the energy in a virtual or online format."

Give Local York will showcase more than 300 York County nonprofits over a period of 24 hours, during which people will have the opportunity to learn about each organization and donate.

Meagan Given, right, executive director of Give Local York, represented the non-profit organization at the 2018 Spirit of YoCo Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Philanthropist Robert W. Pullo, helped to found the organization.

On the Give Local York website, www.givelocalyork.org, interested donors can search nonprofits and view their profile pages or search for an organization by category type.

Last year, the event raised $3.2 million with 8,777 donors. Although Given said there is no set donation goal, Give Local York is hoping to reach 10,000 donors this year.

Throughout the event Friday, each nonprofit will have the chance to tell its story and provide information about what it does. 

Events will also take place throughout the day, including a Zoom karaoke party, online story time presented by York County Libraries and a virtual concert with the help of Weary Arts Group and Assorted Studios.

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York County Libraries, which has participated in Give Local York festivities for three years, will present story time at 10 a.m. from its Facebook page.

“Libraries are the hub of the community, and the services they provide are essential to our friends, family and neighbors,” said Janine Pflaum, York County Libraries development director. "The donations received during those 24 hours go a long way to maintain the daily programs."

Though individuals can choose a specific nonprofit to support, there's also an option to donate to the Give Local York stretch pool, which distributes funds to each of the 300 participating organizations.

"Give Local York is meant to be a celebration of generosity in York County," Given said. 

"The mission is to get more people in the process of supporting causes that they care about."

Living through the pandemic, Given said she wanted to make people aware of specific organizations assisting with COVID-19 relief efforts, including the York County COVID-19 Response Fund, the York County Artists Relief Fund and the York City Independent Restaurant Association

However, she  relayed concerns from several nonprofits not working on the front lines about  receiving less funding.

"All of the organizations are taking a hit right now, every nonprofit in York County," Given said. "And a lot of the organizations that are participating are seeing even more need for their services right now."

In order to support all participating nonprofits, Given said she's helped each organization focus on tools to make them successful, like showing them how to utilize Facebook Live and Zoom video conferencing.

She first began conversations in early March about how they could potentially switch activities in a socially isolated world.

"This day has really become a celebration for York County. It's been a real community-building day, and people need that right now," Given said. "We're all a part of something, we're all in this together. For this day, at least, we're all York County, even if we can't be together in person."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.