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Statewide online giving campaign seeks to raise $1 million

Published: Wednesday, March 19 2014 6:40 p.m. MDT

Alana Sparkman, left, holds hand with Neighborhood House clients Norman and Jean as they walk around the property of the care center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — At Neighborhood House, all eyes are on the giving board in the foyer of the Salt Lake City nonprofit organization that provides child care and day services for frail adults.

Construction-paper bricks represent pledges to the nonprofit, which is participating in the second-annual statewide Love UT Give UT 24-hour online giving campaign, which got underway at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Neighborhood House has the added incentive of a matching grant from an anonymous donor, said development assistant Lindsey Mayer.

Funds raised Thursday will supplement the nonprofit's traditional funding streams, government funding, other development activities and fees clients pay for child care and adult services, which are assessed on a sliding scale according to income.

"If we can get another pop of funding, it will help us to be able to provide services to so many more people," Mayer said.

Neighborhood House, which has served the community for nearly 120 years, mostly serves Utah families of limited means. Its child care program is nationally accredited. Most clients are single mothers who make less than $19,000 a year.

Its adult services program serves people from their 20s on up. Some clients have developmental disabilities, brain injuries, dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

The day program, which operates five days a week, provides lunch and structured activities that serve clients' physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. Not only do the activities keep clients safe and engaged, the day program provides respite for their caregivers and enables them to concentrate on their jobs free of worry.

On Wednesday, adult clients took part in an activity that resembled a parlor game but was specifically designed as a cognitive exercise.

One client, Esther, was introduced to the group of about 16 adults. They were asked to observe her clothing and overall appearance. Then she was escorted to the nearby lunchroom, where a few "accessories" were added to her outfit, such as a scarf, a feather, a flag and a plastic spoon.

"Now what's different?" asked activities aide Lose Bryant.

"She's got a scarf," one client piped up.

"I see a plastic spoon," said another.

"You guys are doing great," Bryant said.

Not only are Neighborhood House's staff and clients hoping the community matches its $7,500 challenge grant, they're counting on as many people as possible to contribute whatever they can.

The minimum donation to Love UT Give UT is $10. There is no maximum limit.

Additional cash grants up to $5,000 will be awarded to nonprofits that have the largest number of donors, said Fraser Nelson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah, which sponsors the campaign.

"The No. 1 reason for Utahns to give is that they leverage their giving, even by giving $10. You're adding to a very large pot, so every donation counts," Nelson said.

This year, donors have pledged $411,000 in challenge and matching grants to encourage giving. Last year, the campaign netted about $800,000 in donations with some 6,500 people or businesses contributing.

"This year, we've got half of what we raised just in matching grants," Nelson said.

Some 460 nonprofits, schools and organizations are taking part in the online giving campaign, up 100 from a year ago, she said.

Last year, the Community Foundation's office served as headquarters for the day of giving. This year, the event will be staged at the Gallivan Center, dubbed "Love Central" for the day.

Food and drinks will be served throughout the day. Participants can follow the progress online or watch it on a big screen at the plaza.

Grants will be awarded to organizations with the largest number of donors, not those that receive the most funding, Nelson said.

One of last year's grant recipients was Noble Horse Rescue, a small nonprofit organization that rescues aging, abused and neglected horses.

"They raised more money during Love UT Give UT than they did the rest of the year. It really set their budget," Nelson said.

The added benefit of the giving event is to raise awareness about nonprofit organizations in Utah.

Noble Horse Rescue has benefitted from a larger donor base, more volunteers and "an expanded number of people who care about their organization," she said.

Contributing to Love UT Give UT "is very simple. It just takes a second. You just point, click and donate," Nelson said.

“It all adds up. Last year 6,500 people made $800,000 happen. We want to double that this year.”

Love UT Give UT grant recipients 2013

Small nonprofits (budgets under $100,000)

Utah FACES

Noble Horse Sanctuary

Plan B Theater

Medium nonprofits (budgets over $100,000 to under $1 million)

HEAL Utah

The Sharing Place

Wasatch Community Gardens

Large nonprofits (budgets over $1 million)

Girl Scouts of Utah

TURN Community Services

Utah Pride Center

Schools

Westminster College

Weber School District Foundation

Salt Lake Arts Academy

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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