Hundreds of nonprofits prepare for mega fundraiser Give UT Love UT Friday

Published: Wednesday, March 20 2013 6:21 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 350 nonprofit organizations across Utah plan to unite for one of the largest fundraising efforts in the state’s history on Friday.

The groups plan to encourage individuals to give to worthwhile causes in humanitarian aid, health services for the poor, environmental initiatives, extracurricular school programs, school safety upgrades and several other areas.

The fundraiser, dubbed Give UT Love UT by parent sponsor Deseret Management Corporation, will be held entirely online at loveUTgiveUT.org, where Utahns can browse the state's nonprofit organizations and make donations from home.

Deena Pyle, a spokeswoman with the Utah Humanities Council which funds book festivals throughout the Wasatch Front each fall, hopes the online presence of Give UT Love UT will serve as a springboard for the organization’s impact on a younger generation of donors.

“The medium itself is new for us. We think it’s going to help us attract donors we have never reached before,” Pyle said. "We saw it as a good way to connect with young donors who are very philanthropically minded.”

The Utah Humanities Council joined the wide swath of nonprofits for the first time this year. Pyle believes the one-stop format and the strength in numbers will magnify each organization’s exposure for the average resident.

“We wanted to be an active part of the nonprofit community and help to create a visible mindset together,” Pyle said. “There’s certainly a need to give to these nonprofits, many of which don’t receive any other funding, and we’re raising that awareness.”

Cathy King founded Canines With a Cause in 2010 in an effort to match dogs from animal shelters with war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

She said the organization has been careful not to overreach with its limited resources on awareness campaigns because Canines with a Cause is relatively new. But the opportunity to publish her non-profit on Love UT Give UT for free is a rare opportunity for her and her employees to share their mission without paying hefty advertising costs.

“We’ve kind of laid low so far, but this is a good chance for us to get the word out,” King said. “We always say, 'Who rescues who?' Because they both need each other so much. The dogs obviously need a home, but (the veterans) really love and depend on them. It helps them to transition back into family life and feel like they’re giving back. This is really a way for us to get out in front and get noticed and explain that need.”

Causes hosted by the Give UT Love UT campaign vary widely, from Special Olympics Utah to the Wasatch Community Gardens and from the Utah After School Network to the Road Home. Online visitors will even find links to lesser-known nonprofits such as the Utah Food Allergy Network and Art Pianos For All. For Provo-based Project Read, Friday’s donations will mean the chance to reach and tutor more of the 21,000 adults in Utah County who are functionally illiterate.

“The numbers are higher than we think. We see two universities in this valley and we see a lot of really educated people here,” Brown said. “But those who have issues with reading have a way of slipping into the background. … If donors can get passionate about causes like this and choose to get involved, they can really make a difference in someone’s life.”

Online donations will remain open for 24 hours on Friday.   

E-mail: blockhart@deseretnews.com

Twitter: benlockhart89

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