Special promotional content provided by Community Shares of Wisconsin.
Community Shares of Wisconsin will sponsor its seventh annual fundraising campaign, The Big Share, on March 2. The campaign has always had a focus on easy, online ways for people to give to social and environmental justice organizations. This year’s effort will focus on virtual events and digital ways to build support for nonprofits working for those hit hardest by the COVID crisis.
Though Community Shares of Wisconsin’s member nonprofits have worked to address systemic inequities for many years, the COVID crisis exposed the deep institutional racism and barriers to resources Americans face. These systemic barriers are the root causes of the problems Community Shares member nonprofits work to solve through advocacy and community organizing.
“When the pandemic first hit, we knew we had to act fast to help our member nonprofits raise money for their important work for justice and equality,” said Community Shares of Wisconsin Executive Director Cheri Dubiel. “With no in-person fundraising events and uncertainty about the economy, we established the Fund for a Just Recovery to help. Donors were generous and it was a big success. We expect this trend to continue in this year’s campaign for The Big Share.”
The 70 member nonprofits participating in The Big Share have fundraising pages at thebigshare.org where people can donate. With the support of Community Shares, presenting sponsor Madison Community Foundation, and corporate sponsors, 100% of donors’ gifts go to their chosen nonprofit (with an option for donors to pay for credit card processing fees).
Online tools are available for individuals or businesses to create their own fundraising pages. Donations are welcome any time, but giving on March 2 can amplify donors’ impact with matching challenges, Power Hours in which top-fundraising organizations can win cash prizes, and Match Minute Challenges where all donations are matched dollar-for-dollar for 60 seconds.
Some organizations work to keep the impacts of the COVID crisis at bay, but others are making wins for equality and safety.
One win in 2020 was the culmination of a years-long campaign by Freedom Inc. and the Dane County TimeBank to remove police from Madison’s public schools. While students – in particular BIPOC students – suffer deep harm and even murder at the hands of police, Freedom Inc. and the TimeBank successfully advocated for the termination of the school district’s contract with the Madison Police Department.
The COVID crisis and the economic fallout from layoffs and unemployment threatens many renters’ rights to housing. While individuals face eviction, the Tenant Resource Center, Fair Housing Center of Greater Madison, and Legal Action of Wisconsin pushed for their rights and for extended eviction moratoriums. Beyond President Biden’s extension of a federal eviction moratorium through March 31, the Tenant Resource Center is working with the City of Madison and Dane County to steer $16 million of federal money to help families apply for emergency rental assistance for those who are housed, but have months of overdue rent payment.
Voters face unprecedented challenges during the pandemic and safer-at-home orders. Organizations like the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the ACLU of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired work to advocate for the rights of citizens to vote through legal defense and election protection at the local level. These nonprofits are among the leading advocates to defend early voting, absentee voting, secure ballot drop-off boxes, and access to polling places for voters who have disabilities.
Three nonprofits are participating in The Big Share for the first time. Inspire Barber College, Natural Circles of Support, and Urban Triage were all recognized as Inspiring Voices organizations by Community Shares in 2020. Summit Credit Union is issuing a challenge grant for these groups’ fundraising this year because of the urgency of addressing issues of racial equality in our community.
“The Inspiring Voices nonprofits all have one thing in common: they work directly with the Black community to increase their strength and resilience in education, our economy, and in local leadership and Summit is proud to support their work,” said Jody Stolldorf, Community Giving and Events Manager at Summit Credit Union. “A challenge grant to Inspiring Voices nonprofits is an investment in the future of our community’s youth, workforce, and leadership development and we hope you’ll join us in donating during The Big Share.”
The focus on virtual events will begin early with a kickoff event on Monday, March 1. With the support of Madison Gas and Electric, Community Shares will host Drag Bingo during the 6:00 p.m. MGE Power Hour. The first Match Minute Challenge will be sponsored by SVA Professional Services and every donation made between 7:45 – 7:46 p.m. will be matched. Visit the Community Shares Facebook page to find registration information for this online event.
“The Big Share is a great campaign to engage people to get involved as a donor or cheerleader for the social and environmental justice organizations that speak to your values,” said Cedric Johnson, Community Services Manager at MGE.
More virtual events will be announced through Community Shares and its member groups on social media. Visit thebigshare.org now through March 2.