The Meaning of "Community"

Aug 29, 2021 · By James H. McCune, WCCF Board Chairman

Blog Photo Template

Looking back on the events of 2020, it is understandable that many of us will first think of the challenges, setbacks, and hardships. But, in those difficult moments, also much good can be found.

At a time when so many were struggling financially, one might expect charitable giving to suffer. In fact, no one knew what to forecast for last year’s Day of Giving, WCCF Gives. During this annual, community-wide event for local charities, the Community Foundation increases the contributions received by part of a $100,000 bonus pool to help each participant raise more with every gift. The WCCF Gives sponsors include: Ansys, Chapman Corporation, Washington Financial Charitable Foundation, Alex E. Paris Contracting, the Observer-Reporter, Washington Auto Mall, as well as the Foundation’s own Acorn Fund.

Since its inception in 2013, WCCF Gives has become a beloved event for both charities and donors alike. And for many participating charities, WCCF Gives serves their primary activity to secure annual operating support. However, in 2020, WCCF Gives took on an even more critical role, as this event would help to determine if some local charities would be able to survive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had disastrous consequences on the local charitable sector. Arts and cultural organizations that rely heavily on admissions revenue have been forced to cancel their concerts and activities. Both human services and health organizations have seen dramatic increases in the need for their services, and many must provide their services in new ways that have increased costs. Many charities have implemented more technology into service delivery, which has also increased costs. And most charities in our community rely on at least one fundraising event to secure operational revenue. One by one, those 2020 fundraising events were cancelled. But, WCCF Gives remained as a safe and effective way to generate revenue.

In response to the challenges presented by the pandemic, we made what changes we could to WCCF Gives internally, such as instituting a postmark deadline for donors who choose to give by check. And to encourage donors to donate safely from home, a generous WCCF supporter helped us to cover the credit card fees assessed to online gifts. Still, everyone wondered what impact the pandemic would have on this popular fundraising activity. All we could do was wait.

In September, the people of Washington County revealed their caring hearts and broke a record. WCCF Gives 2020 resulted in an astounding $1.3 million in grants to the local charities who remained steadfast in providing their services despite challenging circumstances. Thousands of local people and businesses made a gift, and seeing that final contributions total really solidified the meaning of “community.”

This year’s WCCF Gives event has been scheduled for Thursday, September 16. Our local charities have not yet recovered from the setbacks they experienced in 2020, and all the while, concerns surrounding the COVID-19 Delta variant grow. Help is still desperately needed.

If you have the ability and the desire to help our community through charitable giving, WCCF Gives is an ideal time to do so. The minimum gift has been set at only $25 so that participation is accessible for donors at all levels. And, with more than 100 local charities registered, it is easy to find an organization or a cause that suits your particular interests. Details about the event are available online at www.wccfgives.org.

Here we are, one year later, and still we face a future filled with many unknowns. But I can say that there are a few things of which I am most certain: we live in a wonderful, vibrant community; the people of Washington County are kind and generous; and the contributions raised though WCCF Gives will serve to make an impact when one is needed most.

May we count on your support?