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New Local Sponsors Support Santa Cruz Gives

By Jeanne Howard………………….....................

A shout out to Kaiser Permanente, Swenson, and philanthropist Joe Collins, who have joined the circle of support for Santa Cruz Gives with "matching funds."

Quite a few potential donors ask about the definitions of matching funds and challenge grants. Matching funds encourage donors to give, knowing their gift will be magnified by the generosity of local businesses, organizations and individuals.

Matching funds can be structured in a few ways. At Santa Cruz Gives, the matching funds running total is stated on the home page. This total will be divided and granted to each nonprofit based on the percentage of the total funds raised during the entire campaign that each organization raises individually. If a nonprofit receives five percent of the total donated funds, they will receive five percent of the matching funds.

There's a new feature this year in the shopping cart that allows anyone to contribute to the matching funds by clicking a box and entering an amount. While major donors usually grant amounts rounded off to the nearest thousand dollars, this year there is already an odd amount of matching funds that is most likely based on the whims of donors as they check out. Since it is new, many discover the option as they approach the virtual cashier, gleaming like an attractive bauble at a brick-and-mortar shop check-out line. In the future, when donors are familiar with this feature as part of SC Gives, some will surely plan a contribution. For this holiday season, it's fun to watch the total tick up by the random acts of kindness of those inspired while paying for their donations to one or more nonprofits.

Challenge grants do not work on the principle of a match, but hope to inspire donors to collectively match the total even though the individual organization will receive the grant regardless. The grants are given directly to nonprofits and they are a "challenge" to other donors, as if to say, "We are familiar with this group and their work and want to support them in a significant way. We challenge you to meet our grant amount and help this organization that we know to be effective become an even greater benefit to our community."

Most of us are not philanthropists with large sums who take the time to deeply investigate each nonprofit whose work interests us. We are busy locals who would like to contribute, but aren't well-versed in many of the local organizations. That's where Santa Cruz Gives comes in. We do the homework for you, with the support of team members who work with the nonprofit community in Santa Cruz County all year long. We also try to accept a few young or emerging nonprofits we think are promising, do not have a track record of many years, yet are already making benevolent waves in our neighborhoods.

The bottom line: Your gift will help the organizations you favor to get a larger share of the match. Thank you for giving.