The power of charitable giving isn’t in the amount you give, it’s in the act itself. It’s in the people supporting causes they believe in and feeling good about making a difference.
That’s the idea behind Give BIG Green Bay (GBGB), a one-day online giving event in February designed to rally the community around local nonprofit organizations. This year, the event runs from noon on Feb. 18 through noon on Feb. 19.
“It’s not just another day of raising money,” says Dennis Buehler, president and CEO of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation (GGBCF). “GBGB allows nonprofits to build new relationships, connecting people with their passions.”
Now in its third year, the event is a collaboration between the GGBCF and the Green Bay Packers Foundation. As the two largest philanthropic groups in Green Bay, organizers wanted to create a groundswell of community support for local nonprofits. The Packers Foundation also provides a $250,000 impact grant to create a matching pool of funds.
The seed for GBGB was planted in early 2017 by Charlie Lieb, who was then chair of the Packers Foundation. He had seen a similar event in Naples, Fla. The Packers brought the idea to the GGBCF, and together the two organizations decided to give the idea a try.
“Because Green Bay and the surrounding area has provided us with unwavering support for more than 100 years, we have a unique responsibility to give back,” says Mark Murphy, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers. “This event gives us an opportunity to use our platform to lift up the missions of community organizations engaged in critical, sometimes unseen work.”
Green Bay organizers carefully curate which nonprofits will be featured. The result is a representative cross-section of size, sector and reach. “We want to make it really special and paint a picture of the community’s needs,” Buehler says.
The selected charities cover 11 fields of interest: animal welfare; arts and culture; community improvement; education; environment and conservation; health and wellness; hunger and homelessness; human services; military and law enforcement; recreation and sports; and youth development. The selected charities are highlighted on the GBGB website.
When the big day comes, the real fun begins. There’s a buzz of activity that’s hard to miss. Some nonprofits host open houses, while other groups pitch in with matching gifts.
“What really makes it powerful is that during the event, each organization activates its network to share information through a variety of communication channels, creating a collective momentum around the day,” Buehler says.
That momentum has paid off in a big way. In 2018, 31 nonprofits participated and 1,718 donors raised $805,610. One year later, 40 nonprofits participated and 3,446 donors raised $1.387 million — a 72 percent increase from 2018.
Paul’s Pantry, an independent food pantry in Green Bay, relies entirely on the community for support. “When we learned about GBGB and the successful first year, we jumped at the chance to participate” in 2019, says Craig Robbins, Paul’s Pantry executive director.
Last year, Paul’s Pantry received nearly $30,000 in online donations. Matching gifts brought the total to about $37,000.
“GBGB offers an opportunity for the groups to raise an unprecedented amount of funds in a short period of time,” Murphy says. “The GBGB donation was enough to cover the cost of a dozen eggs for each household food visit made this year. That’s nearly 38,000 dozen eggs so far.”
Perhaps most importantly, about 41 percent of 2019’s donors self-identified as being new to the organization.
“This speaks to the core purpose of establishing new connections,” Buehler says. “Those organizations never had a relationship with that donor before.”
In addition, giving came in at all levels. A significant number of donations fell between $10 and $200.
“The first two years, we had an overwhelming positive response,” Murphy says. “We expect the matching dollars to continue to grow this year, and we’re looking forward to creating more excitement and buzz than ever before.”
Give BIG Green Bay 2020
Organizers are in the final planning stages for this year’s Give BIG Green Bay event. The application process wrapped up in October, and participating nonprofits will be announced Jan. 16 at Lambeau Field. More information on the selected organizations can be found on GiveBigGreenBay.org after that date.
The online giving event runs from noon on Feb. 18 through noon on Feb. 19 at