Great Give Day to benefit record number of area nonprofits following pandemic year

Area residents can donate to a record number of nonprofits this week as part of an annual day of giving.

Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque will host the eighth annual Great Give Day on Thursday, May 13. The online-only event has brought in more than $2 million since 2014 to nonprofits in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties.

A record 182 nonprofits are participating this year, according to Peter Supple, economic opportunity coordinator for the foundation.

“That certainly goes with what we’re seeing with COVID,” he said. “Small businesses and nonprofits need donations more than ever. … Some nonprofits are hesitant to ask for money right now, but we saw a need last year.”

Great Give Day generated about $340,000 from more than 3,000 donations last year.

Leslie Shalabi, co-founder of Convivium Urban Farmstead in Dubuque, said she always enjoys participating in Great Give Day and watching donations rise throughout the day.

She said funds from this year’s event will go into Convivium’s endowment fund. The organization will then receive guaranteed funds each year to continue bringing healthy food education and options to the community.

Shalabi said Great Give Day money will help Convivium continue the free casserole program that began in September. The program started as the organization sought to use its produce and provide healthy meals when its restaurant was closed due to the pandemic.

“We found that it was so popular that we continued it, we’re still continuing it, and we anticipate doing it in the future,” Shalabi said. “The pandemic really kind of exposed a need that we weren’t meeting.”

Keith Kettler, administrator at Mt. Pleasant Home in Dubuque, said Great Give Day will allow the senior living facility and other nonprofits to make up extra expenses incurred during the pandemic. Last year, the senior living facility was about $54,000 over budget due to additional COVID-19-related expenses.

Mt. Pleasant Home staff also are anticipating an increase in demand for services this summer. Some people were hesitant to bring their older parents into a community living situation during COVID-19, Kettler said, but that likely will change as more of those adult children go back to work in person.

“Great Give Day is a vehicle to hopefully allow us to get caught up a little bit and keep our operations running smoothly,” he said. “There was no shortage of ways to spend money last year.”

Marilyn Althoff, CEO of Hills & Dales in Dubuque, said Great Give Day funds will continue paying for supplies for programs that serve children and young adults with disabilities.

“This year, (giving) is just especially important, as we’re all looking to break into a new pathway from this historical and memorable year,” she said.