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Total Raised $1,087,569.00
Individual Donations $375,473.09
Overall Matching Fund $242,010.00
Organization Challenge Gifts $467,086.42
Awards $3000

Three $1,000 awards will be granted for:
Most Donors | Project of the Year
| Most Creative Campaign

Donors 1404
$0 Initial Goal

Join the Giving Revolution: Santa Cruz Gives

November 15 - December 31, 2023

This year's holiday campaign raises funds for local nonprofits. Learn about their projects on each profile page and be inspired! Minimum donation is only $5.

If you have walked on a clean beach, enjoyed a park, attended an arts or music event live or on zoom, adopted a pet, received health care services, or enrolled a child in an activity—you have encountered the good work of numerous local nonprofits.

Often the benefits are not visible—when the work prevents or mitigates negative impacts. One thing is certain:  Our community would be far less desirable without the dedication of these groups, driven only by a desire to improve our collective circumstances.

We vetted and selected dozens of valuable local nonprofits that applied for inclusion and created a platform to make it easy for you to browse, donate and help make our community an even better place to live.

Join us!



What's the difference between challenge grants and matching funds?

By Jeanne Howard

Donors often ask about the difference between challenge grants and matching funds. So here you go: A challenge grant is an upfront grant to a nonprofit made by a major donor (minimum $500). These grants demonstrate support for a nonprofit, generally from philanthropists who are more experienced than most of us average donors at vetting organizations for effectiveness. The idea is that this encourages other donors to give and it also sets a goal for donors to match, even though the funds will be given whether or not the amount is matched. A “thermometer” on each nonprofit's profile page tracks progress toward the goal on on this site, and challenge grantors are recognized by name if desired. Our sponsors whose logos are at the bottom of the home page give matching funds. Those can be either proportionate or one-to-one. Because Santa Cruz Gives raises more than $1 million and we don't have as much in matching funds, we offer a proportionate match. Total matching funds are divided and granted based on the percentage of the total donations that each organization receives during the campaign. That is, if a nonprofit receives 3 percent of the total donated funds (challenge grants + individual donations — visible on each profile page), it will receive 3 percent of the matching funds. All donors can now contribute to matching funds (by checking a box and entering an amount on the shopping cart), so they increase during the campaign. Total matching funds are posted on the home page and will reflect any added. We're grateful to welcome Comcast as a new sponsor this year. On behalf of the team at Santa Cruz Gives and this year's 65 participating nonprofits, we extend a warm, grateful welcome to our friends at Comcast! We're feeling just as warm and grateful to our other sponsors: Good Times, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Applewood Foundation, Joe Collins, Driscoll’s, Inc., Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Santa Cruz County Bank, Wynn Capital Management, The Pajaronian, and Press Banner. Read more


Local Nonprofits Give to Us Daily. It's Our Turn.

By Jeanne Howard

Thanks to our generous community Santa Cruz Gives has become the largest fundraising campaign in Santa Cruz County that supports local nonprofit organizations serving all types of needs. It sounds like a lot of qualifiers, but the annual six-week crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $4 million for more than 100 nonprofits since its founding in 2015, with $2.3 million of that in the past two campaigns. Great potential remains!

This year 65 nonprofits were selected (from those that applied) to participate in the holiday fundraiser — a number that will grow as the total funds raised grows and each organization has a fair shot at success.

Read more



By Jeanne Howard

Santa Cruz Gives operates — well, not quite on a wing and a prayer, but close. Volunteers who are already scheduled up to their eyeballs (who isn't?) make it happen.

The leadership at the Volunteer Center and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County are perhaps the most knowledgeable folks in town when it comes to understanding the landscape of nonprofits based in our community and the work they do. These leaders read all of the applications, guide the campaign, and assist nonprofits with tactics to maximize their fundraising by using social media, engaging their leadership and more.

Good Times editor Steve Palopoli coaches the nonprofits on how to create a compelling narrative that tells their story with the aim of helping donors understand the importance of their work. GT's managing editor Adam Joseph runs a social media campaign for SC Gives, something he started for us last year. In addition, Good Times reporters cover the participating nonprofits every week; The Pajaronian and Press Banner run articles on most weeks.

One key to the success of this campaign is providing matching funds for the nonprofits — much-needed cash that is shared among the organizations. Knowing that their favorite nonprofits will get an increased share of those funds if donors give, incentivizes donations.

Matching funds are generously provided this year by the Applewood Foundation; Joe Collins; Driscoll’s, Inc.; Monterey Peninsula Foundation, host of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Pure Insurance Championship Impacting the First Tee; Santa Cruz County Bank; and Wynn Capital Management. These are major gifts that accounted for about 15% of funds raised in past years. We'd like to build on this, so if you or your company are in a position to contribute, please contact Jeanne Howard at jeanne@santacruzgives.org.

Generous local media outlets that have donated ad space, coverage, and PSAs include Growing Up in Santa Cruz, KSCO, Santa Cruz Local, and the Stephens Media Group.

No rent, salaries or overhead is paid to run Santa Cruz Gives, thanks to Good Times and the Volunteer Center, who contribute the bulk of the administration. Thank you for visiting this site, and supporting some Big Ideas for 2023. Read more

The 2022 campaign is finished. To see the campaign, close this window.

Prior to November 15, please use only the challenge grant donor portal (do not donate to an organization via the standard donation portal)