Give Day raises funds to fight homelessness
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent November 15, 2012 4:00PM
MaryAnn Thompson, of Valparaiso, hands a donation to Caring Place project coodinator Lindsey Shira during the inaugural Give Day sponsored by the Porter County Community Foundation Nov. 8, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
◆ For more on the Porter County Community Foundation, go to www.portercountyfoundation.org.
◆ To learn more about Give Day, go to www.portercountygiveday.org.
Updated: December 19, 2012 11:54AM
The first Porter County Give Day, sponsored by the Porter County Community Foundation, raised $186,038 for 17 local charities working to combat homelessness.
Held Nov. 8, the event offered opportunities to donate online and in person, as well as matches offered by local businesses and community organizations. In all, 955 donations were made to the charities.
Other community foundations throughout the country have held Give Days, though Porter County’s effort was different in that it focused on the issue of homelessness, said Carol Costakis, the foundation’s community resources director.
In January, the foundation unveiled a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Porter County, and Give Day was meant to tie in with that push, Costakis said.
The fundraiser gave the community the chance to specify which organization received donations. In addition to the donations and matches pro-rated based on how much each nonprofit raised, the agencies also were eligible for cash prizes awarded during the 24-hour effort.
Housing Opportunities, which oversees a homeless shelter and low-income housing in Valparaiso, and low-income housing in Portage and Michigan City, received the most in donations, which totaled $15,358.
Give Day is a way to create awareness in the county about homelessness, said Caroline Shook, executive director of Housing Opportunities.
“For us, it’s the money,” she said, adding the funds raised by Give Day will be used for a unit at the agency’s site at 2001 Calumet Ave. The building there has 14 apartments for the homeless, and 14 low-income rentals. All of the units are full.
Some donors wanted to help victims of Hurricane Sandy and Shook said they were referred to the American Red Cross, but that effort wasn’t necessarily competing with Give Day.
“How do you not want to help when people go through a natural disaster? But with 17 agencies, we deal with people’s personal disasters every day,” she said.