Giving Tuesday: How CoMoGives campaign will support nearly 150 central Missouri nonprofits

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Giving Tuesday, celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is serving as the kickoff for the monthlong CoMoGives campaign.

There are 148 nonprofits participating from throughout the central Missouri region. Each nonprofit has a fundraising goal, and CoMoGives will keep track of how much is raised on a leaderboard.

The campaign runs through Dec. 31. Residents are encouraged to give early in the campaign, as there are 20 challenge grants that organizations can win. Examples of challenge-grant categories include most money raised, most donors under 35 years old or most raised among first-time campaign participants.

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The goal of the campaign is to help facilitate fundraising for a wide cross-section of central Missouri nonprofits, according to the CoMoGives website.

More information about CoMoGives can be found online at comogives.com.

A few nonprofits you could support

Race Matters, Friends Community Bail Fund

The Race Matters, Friends Community Bail Fund is on track to provide bail to the largest number of people this year since its inception.

The bail fund has a fundraising goal of $20,000 through CoMoGives.

The group has provided bail, at a maximum of $3,000, for 51 people so far this year. According to a video on the bail fund's Facebook page, the group is concerned the total could reach 70 people by year's end. The total helped last year was 45.

Those helped by the group per month also has increased this fall, with 13 in September and 14 in October. The previous monthly high was eight.

"All of our funds come from local donations," said Peggy Placier, with the bail fund, during a CoMoGives livestream earlier this month. "... People held (in jail) are waiting for their trial. They haven't been convicted of anything, so we consider that to be punishment before conviction."

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No money is returned to the bail fund by the court until cases are completed. Seven cases have concluded so far in 2021, according to the video. The courts have kept nearly 70% of returned bail money to cover fines and fees, the video states.

Among cases that remain open, the courts hold approximately $70,000 from the bail fund, the group said Nov. 4.

Anecdotally, the increase in bail requests could be pandemic-related, said Tory Kassabaum, who was among those who helped create the bail fund.

"People are just in a hard financial spot right now," Kassabaum said earlier this month. "We do not have the data to prove this, but we are wondering if in the past friends and family could have pooled together to bail people out, but now with job loss and the pandemic, people are just in a harder spot."

The bail fund has gotten creative with its fundraising efforts. An indigo dye workshop was held Nov. 6 and an embroidery workshop was held Nov. 20. Kassabaum organized both.

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To see people stuck in jail due to their inability to pay bail, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is extremely alarming, she said.

When people are provided bail by the fund, volunteers conduct follow-up with those aided to make sure they can make their court date. This can be as simple as a phone call reminder or providing a ride to the courthouse.

More information on the bail fund can be found through the CoMoGives website.

Central Missouri Humane Society

Jessica Thiele, left, a veterinarian, and Sam Kempf, a veterinarian assistant, prepare to neuter a stray cat on Monday at the Central Missouri Humane Society. The humane society is one of several mid-Missouri organizations that will receive assistance from the 2021 CoMoGives campaign, which launches Tuesday.
Jessica Thiele, left, a veterinarian, and Sam Kempf, a veterinarian assistant, prepare to neuter a stray cat on Monday at the Central Missouri Humane Society. The humane society is one of several mid-Missouri organizations that will receive assistance from the 2021 CoMoGives campaign, which launches Tuesday.

The Central Missouri Humane Society hopes to raise $45,000 over the next month through the CoMoGives campaign.

The society has been in continuous operation since 1943 and is not associated with the Humane Society of the United States or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A majority of how the society is supported is through donations.

Michelle Casey, society assistant director, participated in a livestream through the CoMoGives Facebook page. She related how the 2020 campaign helped the organization amid the difficulty of COVID-19.

"We stayed open throughout the pandemic because our services were absolutely essential," Casey said earlier this month. "The funding we received (last year) allowed us to care for close to 2,500 animals."

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The society recently concluded its Barksgiving promotion, in which those who temporarily fostered an animal over Thanksgiving weekend received a pet-friendly Thanksgiving meal from Lizzi and Rocco's Natural Pet Market.

This coincided with a fundraiser created by Rachel Newman, who adopted her dog, Johnny, from the society last year. She also created dog-safe Thanksgiving meals, which she then sold to raise money for the society, making about $300.

"Rachel's idea fit in perfectly with our Barksgiving promotion, and we are grateful to receive the proceeds from her sales," Casey wrote to the Tribune, adding the society would be happy to work with Newman if she continues the fundraiser in future years.

"... As a private nonprofit shelter, we generate the majority of our funding through private donations, so any support we receive from the public is greatly appreciated."

More information about the Central Missouri Humane Society can be found through its page on the ComoGives website.

The Center Project

While The Center Project, mid-Missouri's LGBTQ resource center, recently received a major grant from the Veterans United Foundation, that money was not provided to help cover the center's operational costs. The Veterans United grant was for renovations at the center's new location at 815 Fairview Ave.

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The Center Project has a goal of raising $12,000 through its CoMoGives fundraising campaign that will go toward supporting its regular programs, such as PRISM, the LGBTQ youth support group.

The Center Project moved locations earlier this year to grow its programming by holding events simultaneously in multiple meeting spaces.

The CoMoGives 2020 campaign helped support the center's move to its new location, said Cameron Lee, center vice president, during a pre-Giving Tuesday kickoff livestream from CoMoGives.

"It also helped us launch a really important educational program and create pamphlets and educational resources to go out into the community," Lee said.

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The funding through the CoMoGives campaign is a huge boost to the center's programs, he added.

More information on The Center Project's fundraiser can be found on the CoMoGives website.

Making a pledge to give time or money

While the CoMoGives campaign focuses on fundraising for participating organizations, there are other ways to support the initiative.

On the CoMoGives website, people can pledge to:

  • share or interact with fundraising-related social media posts;

  • email friends to spread the word about CoMoGives and campaigns they support;

  • text or call friends to spread the word;

  • write personal letters to friends to help spread the word;

  • host an event to raise donations;

  • give a donation; or

  • host an online peer-to-peer fundraiser

Peer-to-peer fundraisers can be used to reach a specific fundraising goal, give matching donations or to challenge friends and coworkers to some friendly competition.

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The goal of the CoMoGives campaign is to:

  • provide additional revenue to nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • educate the public about nonprofits and their role in the community;

  • encourage young people to get involved with charitable giving;

  • engage with new donors and volunteers;

  • encourage simple and easy online giving;

  • give nonprofits the tools to use social media and online giving; and

  • put the emphasis on local gifts for local fundraising causes

Donations are tax-deductible, but cannot be given by cash or check. In those cases, CoMoGives recommends contacting an organization directly.

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This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Giving Tuesday sees kickoff of CoMoGives campaign for nonprofits

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