More Donors, More Dollars, More Visibility for the Valley During The Great Give 2020 

Donors thanked for generosity

May 15, 2020 (Derby, Conn.)The Valley Community Foundation is pleased to share results of The Great Give® 2020 with its Valley community and to highlight the winners of VCF-sponsored Great Give prizes. Of the more than $3.5 million raised for nearly 400 nonprofits, $488,000 was raised with the help of Valley residents, employees, and VCF donor advised fund holders for nonprofit organizations located in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton. This total represents an increase of nearly $200,000 over 2019 and includes prizes and sponsorship support from VCF, which was used to match Valley donations. A total of 2,569 gifts were made by donors who identified themselves as living/working in the Valley. These donors gave to 254 different participating organizations.

"The compassion and commitment among Valley donors once again rings true during the most successful Great Give ever," said Sharon Closius, President and CEO of the Valley Community Foundation. "We're so proud to be part of this community where we've achieved another record-breaking year. The outpouring of support for nonprofits serving the Greater New Haven and Valley communities has been overwhelming and so very needed during these unprecedented times."

The Valley Community Foundation is the second largest event sponsor behind The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, incentivizing local giving for the Valley by offering matching funds and prizes.

The first day of the event, May 5, two VCF-sponsored prizes were awarded. The Housatonic Council, Boy Scouts of America won the $1000 Early Bird Prize and Seymour Pink won $250 from the VCF-sponsored Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour prize.

"The Housatonic Council would like to thank the Valley Community Foundation for the Early Bird Award and all of our donors and volunteers for their support during this year's Great Give. In 2020 we increased our gifts by 55 percent," said John Zseller, Scout Executive of the Housatonic Council, Boy Scouts of America. Zseller attributed the Council's big success to targeted email communication, early awareness of the Great Give and specific outreach to their volunteers and families.

On May 6, VCF-sponsored prizes were awarded to Seymour Oxford Food Bank, Inc.
for that day's $1000 Early Bird Prize and the Valley United Way won $250 from the Valley Lunch Hour Prize.

Toni Cassidy, director of the Seymour Oxford Food Bank said the event and its resources came at a crucial time because, "the Seymour Oxford Food Bank has seen an increase in need from the Seymour and Oxford communities due to COVID-19. Families that have never needed help in the past are finding themselves with empty cupboards and lacking fresh produce and meats because they thought they could get by until this pandemic was over."

Cassidy said the Food Bank was humbled by the generosity of its neighbors and businesses who donated and that they money raised through The Great Give will be used to purchase items not regularly donated by the public, frozen meat and paper products, in particular.

"This year there were 19 individual donors compared to last year's 5 donors which shows just how much the communities want to help those most affected in these times of total shut down. Helping a local food bank gives the donor the satisfaction of helping their neighbor," said Cassidy.

Two additional prizes made possible by VCF were in a category known as You've Got Valley Friends for the organizations with the most Peer to Peer Fundraisers that each raised $150 or more. The First Prize of $1500 was awarded to St. Mary-St. Michael School and the Second Prize of $1000 was awarded to Adam's House.

"We're so grateful to VCF for offering the "You've Got Friends" prize, our Corporate partner OEM Controls who started our fundraising efforts off strong with a $2500 match donation, and the 17 volunteers who made Adam's House Peer To Peer Campaign for The Great Give such a big success this year," says Adam's House Founder & Executive Director Allison Wysota. "These volunteers amplified our reach in such creative and imaginative ways, from personal story videos to Facebook Live events. We are incredibly thankful for our "Helping Hearts Heal" program families who were brave enough to share their stories. We not only gained donors, but we also engaged entirely new networks in our mission. Thanks to the Great Give, hundreds more people in Connecticut know about our message, which is: 'If you, or someone you know, is grieving, we can help.' That's incredibly meaningful to us." Adam's House, located in Shelton, is a nonprofit that offers grief education and peer support in a home-like setting to children and families.

The Great Give® is Greater New Haven's annual, online fundraising event for the benefit of nonprofits, created by the Valley Community Foundation's partner in philanthropy, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. It was created to increase philanthropy in the Greater New Haven region of South Central Connecticut. Read The Community Foundation's press release about The Great Give 2020 here; final event reconciliation will be subject to match and prize confirmations and credit card transaction adjustments. The public is invited to continue to support local nonprofits at which remains open to receive donations through the end of May in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.