Local organizations hope GivingTuesday donations inject meaningful dollars into the community

In 2020, GivingTuesday has become even more important, as several small nonprofit have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 6:56 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - More nearly a decade, the day after Cyber Monday has become known as GivingTuesday.

The name was created in New York City in 2012 as an idea to encourage people to do good. It has since become an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

In 2020, GivingTuesday has become even more important, as several small nonprofit have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes both Waterfront Park and Kentucky Performing Arts, two organizations that have had their revenues slashed by the pandemic. Waterfront Park has not hosted an event for the majority of the year, while KPA has suffered from keeping the curtains closed on performances.

Waterfront Park President and Executive Director Deborah Bilitski told WAVE 3 News 2020 has been challenging for her team.

Typically, Bilitski said her organization hosts roughly 150 events in the park, ranging from small weddings to Kentucky Derby Festival events. Losing those has meant a dramatic drop in revenue.

“Typically, events constitute about 30 to 35 percent of our operating revenue,” Bilitski said. “So with no ability to host events, we’ve had a major gap in our operating income.”

Just down Main Street, Christian Adelberg told WAVE 3 News KPA is feeling the effects of the pandemic too.

The Kentucky Center for Performing Arts is closed. Because there have not been performances, the funds are drying up.

“2020 has been devastating,” Adelberg said. “What it ultimately comes down to is performances can’t happen right now because we’re not able to safely get audiences in, in to our theaters, so we have no revenue.”

Both Bilitski and Adelberg are hoping GivingTuesday donations will help offset some loss in revenue for their organizations and allow them to stay afloat.

GivingTuesday was also an important day for Metro United Way and President Theresa Reno-Weber. She helped organize Metro United Way’s “Together We Give, Together We Live United” campaign. The annual event challenges seven local counties (Jefferson, Bullitt, Shelby, Oldham, Clark, Floyd and Harrison) to a friendly competition to raise money for separate causes.

The goal is to see which county can earn the highest percentage of their goal. As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign had raised nearly $95,000 total.

“We know how powerful it is when we come together, when we give together, when we live united, when we work together,” Reno-Weber said. “It is a way that we can bring a little bit of light and a lot of positive change to 2020.”

Reno-Weber said no matter how big the donation, the dollars count, especially for small organizations that are struggling to survive.

“This year we’ve seen a 20-time increase, or 20x increase in needs across the community,” Reno-Weber said. “That was right in the aftermath of the shutdown. Now it’s hovering at about 20 percent increase in need across the community. And so, we’ve asked our nonprofit partners to tell us what they need and then we’re going out there and trying to meet those needs every single month, every single day.”

For information about GivingTuesday, click here.

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