February 25, 2020

Give Local Bay fundraiser to give residents chance to support two county nonprofits


BAY CITY — Two Arenac County nonprofits will once again be putting up some friendly competition in the Bay Area Community Foundation’s Give Local Bay fundraiser May 7.

A 24-hour online fundraiser, Give Local Bay allows donors to pick from a list of local nonprofit organizations that hold an endowment fund with the community foundation.

“It’s to celebrate and honor the nonprofits’ work that they do day in and day out, to bring awareness in the public of what they are doing, and set them up for long-term growth as they build their endowment fund this year,” community foundation Communications Officer Kirsten McIlvenna said.

She said the fundraiser has continued to grow each year, with a 26 percent increase in donations between 2017 and 2018. This year 47 organizations are participating, with two from Arenac County — the Arenac County Historical Society fundraising for Ye Olde Courthouse in Omer, and Friends of the Arenac Heritage Route Authority for the Standish Historical Depot.

Despite the odds, the two Arenac County nonprofits have continued to stay toward the top of the list each year for amount of money raised. Last year the historical society was second, and the depot was sixth according to Brenda Matt, historical society member and depot coordinator. In past years the historical society has achieved first place, and last year it was first in number of individual donors with 83.

“They do an incredible job with this and they are always one of the ones at the top,” McIlvenna said of the historical society.

Matt said money raised for both organizations is kept in their respective endowment funds for the future and isn’t taken out for any current expenses.

“This is huge for us,” Matt said. “This is money that’s put aside in the endowment fund that will build for the future. So hopefully people won’t have to work so hard or worry so much about our future.”

Besides donations given directly by donors, participating organizations also receive a piece of a $25,000 pool of matching funds from the community foundation. The size of the piece an organization receives will depend on what percentage of the total donations it receives.

The community foundation will also be awarding various prizes, one via a contest where people can visit www.givelocalbay.org and pick their favorite organization in a quick poll, without donating anything. The one with the most votes will receive a prize of money. In another contest, people can post a selfie using the hashtag #givelocalbay, making sure it is public, and the person chosen as the winner will receive a donation to their organization.

McIlvenna said new this year, individuals can create their own giving profile via the site in order to fundraise on behalf of an organization using their own link, similar to a Facebook fundraiser.

While donations will mainly be made online at www.givelocalbay.org on the day, donors may also contribute over the phone at 989-893-4438, and checks will also be accepted in person at the Pere Marquette Depot in Bay City from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Matt said the historical society and authority are working to get the word out through Facebook, email and a large mailing.

More information can be found on Facebook by searching for the Arenac County Historical Society, The Standish Historical Depot Welcome Center and the Bay Area Community Foundation.


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