Fundraising innovates in the Corridor

How do we fundraise for needy nonprofit organizations when our social fabric and connectivity seems more and more jaded due to isolation and exacerbated by the pitfalls of social media?

The Corridor is taking unique fundraising steps to attempt to bridge this divide.

The region started down this path over a decade ago, when several leaders in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City started 100+ Women Who Care and 100+ Men Who Care chapters with the goal of making fundraising fun, quick, impactful and more egalitarian.

These chapters would convene a few times a year and each member would contribute $100. Collectively, they would vote for a single charity, and that money would go to one local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It was amazingly simple and gratifying to give a worthy nonprofit between $5,000 and $50,000 — a game changing amount of money for many organizations. Many of these chapters continue to this day.

This unique fundraising approach was taken up by several prominent business leaders in Cedar Rapids in 2022 with a Grand Impact award. They recruited 50 businesses to each contribute $2,000 for a total of $100,000, and then asked nonprofits headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha and/or Robins to apply for the money.

Matthew 25 was selected as the $100,000 Grand Impact award winner in 2022 to further its efforts in providing healthy food options in the Taylor school neighborhood through its new Cultivate Hope Corner Store.

This Grand Impact award has been handed off to the Rotary Club of Cedar Rapids, which is continuing this innovative approach in 2023 with another $100,000 awarding event in May.

Just a few miles south, another innovative fundraising approach is being called the Johnson County Great Give Day, a collective day of advocacy and giving that will be held on May 3.

The goal of Johnson County Great Give Day is to empower all Johnson County nonprofit organizations to collectively and individually share their work and the ways they support their communities, and to raise funds for their individual organizations. By driving giving to nonprofit organizations on one day — May 3 — Great Give Day will bring awareness to the work being done by nonprofits in Johnson County communities and support those successes.

Leaders from six area “Nonprofit Champions” are serving as the steering committee for the inaugural Great Give Day. They helped to create this campaign and will act as ambassadors on behalf of the effort.

We applaud these unique fundraising approaches and hope that the entire region continues to support worthy nonprofits because of the critical work they do every day to make our region such a great place to live and work.