Bertram Rantin

It’s time for Midlands Gives

The private Sandhills School is one of the organizations participating in Midlands Gives on Tuesday.
The private Sandhills School is one of the organizations participating in Midlands Gives on Tuesday.

When Central Carolina Community Foundation launched its inaugural Midlands Gives 24-challenge last year, the relatively small Sandhills School joined a wave of area nonprofits making a collective call to the community for financial support.

Theirs was a campaign that began with lessons about philanthropy and resulted in the largest fundraising total of any participating group.

Today Anne Vickers has become a believer in the power of online and social media fundraising.

“With online giving, we can reach a broader audience,” said Vickers, who leads the Columbia private school of 85 students. “The information is always in your pocket. And social media gives you instant publication of the impact you are trying to create.”

More than 250 area nonprofit organizations throughout 11 Midlands counties will be counting on that philosophy again during this year’s challenge on Tuesday.

Last year’s event generated more than $705,000 for the 150 participating groups during the daylong online public fundraising campaign that went viral.

“We were thrilled with the results of our first ever Midlands Gives Day,” said JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “We asked our community to embrace this campaign and they responded beyond our wildest dreams.”

With $43,472 in donations, Sandhills led the social media charge, but the school also held several on-campus activities including a Pennies for Philanthropy bucket designed to encourage and celebrate giving among its students, a special lunch and evening party.

“It was very touching to see their spirit of giving,” Vickers said. “One student who had won $50 for a contest for the T-shirt that she designed turned around and dropped it in (the bucket). When (another) student was asked why he gave, he said, ‘because I am so thankful to the teachers for teaching me how to read.’”

The school is preparing for another round of festivities on Tuesday.

“It is going to be structured a great deal like last year with breakfast and a Cinco de Mayo lunch,” Vickers said. “The only difference this year is that we have ramped up our evening party. The party is called “Rock Around The Clock.”

Midlands Gives grew out of the national Give Local America initiative that encourages people to make gifts that support vital causes in their local communities. IT-oLogy in downtown Columbia will be the headquarters for this year’s local event.

Vickers praised the collective spirit of raising support for various organizations.

“I think that this is a wonderful way to fund raise because it involves the entire community with 250 nonprofits from 11 counties,” she said. “ Everyone in the Midlands community makes up Midlands Gives. It is not just one organization, one person, one donor; but the community coming together that creates the large impact.

Those who want to donate Tuesday can visit, select the nonprofit groups they want to support and make a minimum contribution of $20.