Here at Give!Guide Central, our annual effort to raise funds for local nonprofits coincides with the dropping of the New Year's Eve ball. At the stroke of midnight, we shut off the website's Donate button, and those of us who work with this crazy project step back in sheer awe and amazement at your generosity.
This past November and December, 7,427 of you contributed $2,453,083 to the betterment of our community. You did so without any sort of public recognition but with a public spirit that serves as fuel for this annual effort.
To get a sense of how generous you are, I did a quick comparison with the gold standard of our industry—The New York Times, which, for the past 101 years, has conducted its own annual giving campaign. The Times is America's most influential newspaper, and its readers are wealthier than the average Portlander. Yet, factoring in total readership and amounts donated, you're at least 10 times more generous.
G!G's primary goal—to get Portlanders 35 and under into the habit of charitable giving—has also been wildly successful. This year, 2,065 of you are under 35—twice as many as last year. Your generosity has moved this into a whole new dimension.
All 7,427 of you are just plain amazing. And good. And giving. And we can't thank you enough.
We call Willamette Week's Give!Guide an experiment that engages print and social media, Portland businesses and our incredible nonprofit community in a common purpose.
It really does take a large village to pull this off. Creative agency Grady Britton did incredible work to give us a new website. Great local companies (like Bob's Red Mill, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Widmer Brothers Brewing and A to Z Wineworks) helped with incentives. The folks at Leftbank Annex hosted a splendid kickoff party in early November, and Morel Ink donated thousands of great grocery bags and lawn signs. Portland Center for the Media Arts produced compelling videos. We also want to thank and acknowledge the remarkable Skidmore Prize winners, all our wonderful corporate sponsors and the thousands of incredible Portlanders who work at this year's 129 participating nonprofits.
Special props to G!G executive director Nick Johnson, intern Katie Mundal and designer Amy Martin.
A project like this engenders many good stories.
One is the incredible spirit of cooperation that existed this year among participating nonprofits. On Dec. 1, for example, A-WOL Dance Collective, Polaris Dance Theatre and the Circus Project teamed up to produce a wonderful evening of dance and aerial work, all as part of showcasing their participation in this year's G!G.
I heard another from a Portland family as midnight approached on Dec. 31. Their two children, both now in high school, save some of the money they earn during the year. Then, on New Year's Eve, they get together with their parents to make Give!Guide contributions. The parents match their children's gifts.
A couple of interesting statistics from the 2013 G!G:
- For all 10 years of G!Gâs history, Northeast Portland gave the most, but was nearly caught this year by Southeast.
- This yearâs goal was $2.1 million. You reached it at 12:06 pm on Dec. 31âand in the next 11 hours and 54 minutes, you gave $300,000 moreâto set a G!G record.
- You gave $243,740 to the Oregon Cultural Trust. Oregon Food Bank was second with $128,622. Equally impressive was your support for smaller, lesser-known nonprofits. (For those of you who relish such statistics, there are more to be found at giveguide.org.)
G!G and the Skidmore Prize will return later this year, starting with applications and nominations this summer. (WW and wweek.com will carry announcements.)
In the meantime, we are thrilled by your participation. We say WW's purpose is to make Portland a better place in which to live, work and play. Now, we may need to amend that—to making Portland a better place to live, work, play and give.
Thank you again for putting real, heartfelt substance behind the words we so honor on the Skidmore Fountain in Old Town: "Good citizens are the riches of a city."
PS: The next two issues of WW will contain our third annual Volunteer Guide. It's our way to help you give something other than money—a little of your sweat equity—to local nonprofits. See if there's something that interests you, and tell your friends.
Results, by Participating Nonprofit
Great Business Partners
(Please patronize them.)
A to Z Wineworks
Bank of America
Bob's Red Mill
Davis Wright Tremaine
Egg Press Collection
Ken's Artisan Bakery
New Seasons Market
Oregon Community Foundation
Oregon Public House
Pedal Bike Tours
¿Por Qué No? Taqueria
Portland Center for the Media Arts
Portland Center Stage
Rose City Mortgage
Salt & Straw
Steven Smith Teamaker
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Tender Loving Empire
Thompson Kessler Wiest & Borquist
Washman Car Wash
Whole Foods Market
Widmer Brothers Brewing