Written by Chris Ryan
Last year’s holiday season saw the launch of a new, all-digital initiative for raising funds for Santa Cruz-area non-profits. “Santa Cruz Gives” brought 30 worthy local organizations to one platform where potential donors could learn about each one and its “big idea,” and then easily donate to one or to many.
Second Harvest Food Bank joins the roster again, introducing itself to community-minded individuals, especially younger ones, who may not yet know about its mission of providing healthy food and nutrition education to people in need in Santa Cruz County.
The online platform awards extra and matching funds for categories like “Most donors under 35,” and displays each organization’s donation totals graphically, in real time, making the campaign transparent and fun to follow.
“One of the unique things about Santa Cruz Gives is that it’s a place where you can see what great organizations are doing for different parts of the community,” said Cathy Hsu, Director of Institutional Giving at Second Harvest. “You can give to the organization you love and also discover a new one you might not know about yet.”
The “big idea” Second Harvest is sharing this year is its Virtual Barrel. Most donors know Second Harvest collects food in its signature barrels spread throughout the county, but few people know that by donating just $25, they are providing enough food to fill an entire barrel.
That’s because of the Food Bank’s relationships with farmers and growers and its immense buying power. For instance, Second Harvest can often buy items like carrots for 12 cents a pound, pears and potatoes for 7 cents a pound.
The ease of “one-stop” philanthropy and online donating is helping to bring the under-30 set on board. For some, it’s their first engagement with philanthropy. It is hoped that these new donors will be involved with Second Harvest or another non-profit throughout their lives—after all, today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.
Last year’s campaign raised nearly $100,000 for the 30 non-profits–an impressive result for a first-year initiative. This year’s goal is $140,000, and as of today it has already raised over $99,000. The campaign continues through December 31.