By Jennifer Napier-Pearce
| The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Mar 19 2013 09:17 am • Last Updated Mar 20 2013 08:08 am Let the giving begin.
From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Friday, you’re invited to log on to www.loveutgiveut.org, search through hundreds of charitable causes and — hopefully — open your wallet.
More than 560 Utah nonprofits are signed up for a 24-hour collective campaign called Love UT Give UT, an effort to take fundraising beyond email blasts, 5Ks and galas.
Individual Utah nonprofits have long been resourceful when it comes to fundraising, and Utahns have responded, with Utah having the highest rate of charitable donations in the country, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
However, 80 percent of Utah nonprofits operate on less than $100,000 a year and the big challenge for these groups is getting the word out, said Fraser Nelson of the Community Foundation of Utah, which is coordinating the Love UT Give UT event.
Nelson hopes the combined effort will bring donors out of the woodwork.
“From the very small, grass-roots groups to large, nationally known organizations such as the Boy Scouts, we want people to find and support the causes that they care about,” Nelson said. “We really hope people learn about new organizations they’ve never heard of before.”
One such cause may be the Flutterby IzzyJane Foundation, a small nonprofit that offers financial help to families affected by stillbirths. Founders Danny and Molly Young started the foundation after they lost their first child, IzzyJane, in 2011.
“We thought it would be a cool to create a legacy for our daughter that she wasn’t able to do herself,” Danny Young said.
So far, the South Jordan-based foundation has been able to pay for funeral expenses for 13 families and has donated 2,000 “Forever” bracelets to three local hospitals for moms and babies, he said. Young is crossing his fingers to increase exposure through the Love UT Give UT campaign will help them to do more.
“We’re hopeful that it will be successful,” he said.
Catherine Kirby, founder of the Noble Horse Sanctuary, is also pinning hopes on Love UT Give UT. She started a rescue facility in 2011 as a way to foster aging, abused and neglected horses. She houses 10 horses on a 5-acre plot in Salt Lake City, with a 36-year-old as the sanctuary’s eldest horse. She said the number of unwanted horses is growing.
“Every month I turn down horses,” Kirby said. “As we get more funding, we can take more in and spend the time to find them good homes.”
Nelson of the Community Foundation said the online day-of-giving model has been extremely successful elsewhere, noting that Minnesota raises more than $16 million in one day through virtual fundraising, and The Park City Foundation collected nearly $600,000 for Summit County agencies last November.
“We’re following in the footsteps of other folks,” she said.
She said dozens of companies — from Flying J to Integracore to Alta ski resort — are matching their employees’ donations. Organizers hope friendly competition will encourage people to donate (they’ll be awarding additional grants to the school/college/university along with the small, medium and large nonprofits with the highest number of donors). And all contributions to Love UT Give UT participants are tax deductible.
“We’re encouraging people to give where they live,” Nelson said. “We hope citizens do not stand idly by, but recognize and support Utah nonprofits for their invaluable service.”