Five years after its debut, a well-known local philanthropic event has run its last lap.
The Community Foundation announced Thursday it will discontinue its annual Amazing Raise event, a 36-hour online fundraiser for local nonprofits.
The Amazing Raise has gathered more than $7 million over the course of its five years, benefiting 550 local nonprofits. But Community Foundation CEO Sherrie Brach said the growth rate of donations and participation from local organizations in the annual event has tapered off.
“The Raise has had a really good five-year run,” she said. “It’s generated substantial resources and pulled the community together in a big way.
“In the beginning, we knew it wasn’t something that would go on forever.”
Last year The Community Foundation invested $220,000 in the Amazing Raise, which included prizes, the technology, marketing expenses and an estimated 700 hours in staff time.
Brach said the organization will be “looking ahead, strategically, about where we want to put our resources.”
One of the Amazing Raise’s goals was to create a “robust database of nonprofits,” so those nonprofits and donors could have easy access to fundraising information. That database will remain in the form of GiveRichmond.org.
The Community Foundation is also working with those local nonprofits that depended on the Amazing Raise to help them cope with losing the event.
“We’re working with them, finding out how this is a challenge – anything we can do to help them through the transition,” Brach said.
When it was started, the Amazing Raise created a platform for online giving that many organizations in the area did not have, Brach said.
“At the time you weren’t getting high percentages of people giving online, but that has drastically changed,” she said. “Online giving has grown, online portals have grown dramatically, there are more give days, there are more options for organizations to customize and tailor and do different things, and Giving Tuesday has taken off as the big national give day.”
Giving Tuesday is a national event the Tuesday after Thanksgiving that encourages donors to give to nonprofits. It takes place shortly after the Amazing Raise in the fall. Brach said The Community Foundation will work with local organizations to create even more buzz around that day.
As one of the first organizations in the country to start something like the Amazing Raise, Brach said The Community Foundation was a “pioneer” in that arena.
“We really want to thank the community for their support over the years and the tremendous partnership with the nonprofit organizations and everyone who has made it a success,” she said. “We’re really grateful for that.”
The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia was founded in 1968. Since its inception, it has awarded $730 million in grants. Its most recently available tax forms show that the organization generated $61.9 million in 2013 and had $31.9 million in expenses, according to GuideStar.org.