5 things you should know about Give Local Midland

On May 6th, our community is trying something we never have before. For just 24 hours, a website will accept donations for the purpose of raising as much money as possible for nonprofits in Midland County. The giving event is called Give Local Midland, and it goes from 12:00am to 11:59pm. Over 50 local nonprofits are signed up and ready to accept donations on May 6th.

Here are a few things you should know about Give Local Midland:

1. We are not the only community participating

2014 marks the 100th year of community foundations - the first to open their doors was the Cleveland Foundation in 1914. Because of this landmark, the Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF) is one of over 100 foundations across the nation participating in a local giving day through Give Local America. Each foundation sets up a giving website, invites nonprofit partners to participate, and solicits local matching funds to make your gift go further.

Combined, this is likely to be the largest single-day giving event in the history of the world. For our community and many others across the nation, that's very good news.

2. Our nonprofits do amazing things right here in Midland

Vibrant, healthy nonprofit organizations are a sign of a strong community. Midland is blessed with a large number of nonprofits covering a variety of causes. They impact arts and culture, health and human services, youth, community improvement, education and even our environment.

They rely on support not only from businesses and organizations with big pocketbooks, but also small, one-time or repeat donations from community members like you and I. Without funding for projects, programs and operational costs, our local nonprofits suffer, and in turn so does our community.

3. All gifts given during Give Local Midland go to endowment funds

How did we choose the 50 nonprofits to participate in Give Local Midland? We decided to work with a great group who have endowment funds set up through the community foundation. What's an endowment fund? Think of it as a savings account for a nonprofit. Endowing a fund simply means there will always be a portion of the fund set aside to invest and grow - it lasts forever. The organization can grant themselves a portion of the fund each year to use in any way they need. The higher the endowment, the more they have available to utilize.

Not only is this a great way to support an organization during potential down times, it also shows that they are dedicated to growth and are actively investing in their future. 

This does not mean that there aren't several other worthy nonprofits in Midland County, but the fact that over 50 organizations already hold endowment funds with MACF helped in our decision to stick with these great agencies for our first local giving event.

Want to see the full list? Check it out here.

4. You should probably donate through the giving website

We get that not everyone is comfortable donating online. At the same time, the web is here to stay, and like it or not we're dependent on it. Have you ever been to a modern office when the internet goes down? It's like recess. MACF trusts the internet to make transactions and do business on it every day, and we wouldn't ask you to donate online if we weren't comfortable doing it ourselves. All of our grant and scholarship applications are handled through our website, and we accept thousands of dollars in donations to hundreds of different funds each year. In short, online transactions have made our job easier, allowing us to focus on other areas of growth.

During Give Local Midland we can and will accept donations of cash and checks at our office on 76 Ashman Circle, but those donations will not be eligible for matching funds from local or national pools. We strongly encourage you to donate online via an incredibly easy to fill out form on www.givelocalmidland.org.

The website is mobile-friendly and has a ton of cool features. It shows donations in real time (think Kickstarter for local nonprofits), allows you to search for nonprofits by category, and gives you the chance to donate to multiple agencies without filling out the form more than once.

5. Your gift is more than just your gift

In February of this year, the MACF board of trustees approved $24,000 (24 hours, $24k, get it?) for the Give Local Midland local matching pool. MACF has also solicited over $3,000 from local sponsors. Combined with the as-yet-unannounced national pool of funds, participating nonprofits have a lot of incentive to compete for your donations. Whatever percentage they raise for the day, they'll take home that same percentage of available local and national pool dollars.

The matching funds are great, but there's even more that you as a donor should notice. MACF is tacking on prizes to your gifts! For instance, the very first donation of the day? That's called the Early Bird Donation, which means $150 is automatically added to your gift, no matter the size, just because it's fun. Over $1,000 in similar prizes will be available, so don't miss out!

Give Local Midland is meant to be a fun, exciting change of pace from the traditional online giving platform. Our community has never tried this before, and in truth we really don't know how much money we're going to raise. I for one am excited to find out!

I hope you'll join me on May 6th to give where we live. Questions? Contact MACF at 989.839.9661 or email me directly at btierney@midlandfoundation.org.


Ben Tierney is the Director of Communications for the Midland Area Community Foundation. His job is to tell the story of the community foundation to the public, keep donors informed, and take pictures of people holding those giant checks. Ben earned his BBA in Marketing/Management from Northwood University in 2008. He is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Midland and is part of several local committees including the Midland Area Marketing Partnership, mi-Vibe, Riverdays and the Inter-agency Network.