Give4Marion nets record amount

The online giving campaign, which provides much needed support for area nonprofits, raised $771,075


Lauren Deiorio, the president/executive director of the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County, celebrates as donations rise above $750,000 for the Give4Marion conclusion at the Marion Theatre in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted September 21, 2022 | By Ocala Gazette Staff

From 10 a.m. Tuesday through 7 p.m. Wednesday, the leaderboards for the Give4Marion online fundraising campaign kept showing updated numbers of donations. The statistics were offered in the categories of Large Budget, Small Budget and Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers. Across the boards, the steadily increasing numbers offered great news for numerous area nonprofits.

Give4Marion was started in 2020 by the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County to support local nonprofits in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as many were forced to shut down in-person giving events due to health and safety protocols. Now in its third year, the campaign has become a staple of the foundation’s Nonprofit Resource Center and is an important annual fundraiser.

Ashley Wheeler-Gerds, Director of Strategic Engagement for the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County who was instrumental in the effort told the Gazette, “Having the ability to bring nonprofits and donors together in one place to help better our local community is the greatest gift. We must all work together to create change.”

Ashley Wheeler-Gerds of the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County talks during the Give4Marion conclusion at the Marion Theatre in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

All through the 33-hours of the campaign, the Give4Marion website displayed data including numbers of donors and the dollar totals for the approximately 85 participating agencies.

In the final hour over $695,000 was raised and nonprofits gathered at the Give4Marion Celebration Party held at the Marion Theatre Wednesday evening to watch the final numbers come in.  Lauren DeIorio, President and Executive Director of the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County made a final call to help reach their goal of $750,000. For each donation, Frank DeLuca had agreed to match up to one hundred dollars of the donation in the final hour.

At the close of the event, 2,537 individual donors had contributed $771,075 through 3,714 gifts to different nonprofits split into two categories, nonprofits that had budgets of more than $500,000 and small nonprofits that had less than $500,000 budgets.

The top three recipients in the Large Budget category were:

Interfaith Emergency Services           $48,015

Hands of Mercy Everywhere              $44,288

Ambleside Ocala                                $40,000

The top three recipients in the Small Budget category were:

Lauren Deiorio, the president/executive director of the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County, left, looks on as Frank DeLuca speaks during the Give4Marion conclusion at the Marion Theatre in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

Project Hope of Marion County                     $83,846

Marion County Literacy Council, Inc.           $81,382

Sheltering Hands, Inc                                     $23,645

The top three peer-to-peer fundraisers were: 

Diane Schofield raising funds for Hands of Mercy Everywhere $24,878

Mary Beth Anderson raising funds for Crossroads Academy $7,900

Adam Woods raising funds for Marion County Literacy Council, Inc. $4,680

Donors had opportunities to maximize their gifts by participating in 32 Power Hour events, during which prizes were awarded to the large and small nonprofits with the most donors within that hour. There also were scheduled Matching Moments, where donations were matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100.

During the run of the campaign, many of the nonprofits were extremely active on social media and through email, with some of them offering light-hearted appeals for solving serious needs in the community.

“Give4Marion is special for many reasons, but the thing I like most is the camaraderie between all of these extraordinary nonprofits. You might think this event would sow competitiveness or ill feeling among these organizations, but the opposite is true. I can’t tell you how many gifts have come in from leaders, staff, and Board members of other nonprofits. We’re all out here lifting each other up, because we know that Marion County is a better, more humane place when we all succeed. That’s an incredible thing,” said RJ Jenkins, Volunteer Executive Director, Marion County Literacy Council.

Karla Grimsley of Interfaith Emergency Services said, “When you live and work in a community so rich in worthy non-profits, it’s humbling to be one of the charities that donors choose to support.  Every donation just motivates us to work harder to serve those who need our services.  I truly feel blessed to be a part of a non-profit network that works together so beautifully.  Marion County is truly a special place to do this work.”

In year one, Give4Marion raised more than $310,000, with 1,154 individual donors and 1,592 total donations. In 2021, $532,000 was raised for 75 participating nonprofits, with 2,267 individual donors and 3,251 donations.

To learn more, go to ocalafoundation.org or give4marion.org

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Online extras:Video of the final hour as they meet their fundraising goal of $750,000

Video about community shown during the Give4Marion Celebration Party: