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Nonprofits hoping for perfect match

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GREENFIELD — You would just about have to live under a rock to not have heard about Match Day by now.

At least that was the goal of the event’s sponsor, Hancock County Community Foundation, and the 11 local nonprofits that stand to benefit from the special donation event.

There are signs, fliers, newspaper advertisements, T-shirts, buttons, a banner over U.S. 40 and even a 30-second public service announcement running on Greenfield-Central’s public TV station.

“We want to get this in front of as many people as we can,” said HCCF President Mary Gibble.

Match Day is a 24-hour matching gift event centered on 11 carefully chosen local nonprofits that serve the young, the elderly, the disabled, the hungry and everyone in between. The foundation will divvy up $33,000 of its funds among the groups to proportionally match gifts that are donated by the public to any of the 11 between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Now, with just a few days left, Gibble said all that’s left to do is see if the strong show of support the Foundation has seen so far will turn into a strong show of donations on Tuesday.

Because the event is a first for Hancock Country, organizers and participants alike have no precedent for its results.

“It’s hard to know what to expect,” said Melissa Ewald, executive director for Meals on Wheels. “But the more people that know about it, the better.”

Like the other organizations involved, Ewald has been taking advantage of the countless advertising supplies, materials and tools provided her by the Foundation.

She’s submitted press releases, mailed more than 450 letters, sent email blasts and even walked in the Hancock County 4-H Fair Parade to get the word out.

“They gave us lots of materials and created great ways to get the info out,” Ewald said. “They’ve made it really very easy for us.”

That was the idea, Gibble said. To ensure Match Day is a success, she said the Foundation tried to make it as easy as possible for the nonprofits to get excited and get their individual donor bases excited, too.

By doing so, Gibble said the organizations will obviously benefit from matched donations they might not otherwise receive and the foundation will benefit from increased exposure.

“We wanted our own organization to have the opportunity to touch people that we haven’t had the opportunity to touch before,” Gibble said. “We’re hopeful that this event will allow us to be top of mind when people think of philanthropy.”

Donations can be made online though a website the Foundation has created especially for the event: www.givehcgrowhc.org. The donation function will go live Tuesday, but until then the site is a good place to learn more about the participating nonprofits. It features descriptions, videos and wish lists for each group.

To really get into the spirit of the event, though, donors should make contributions in person at the Foundation, 312 E. Main St., where Gibble said there will be food, music, events and a feeling of “camaraderie.”

Just don’t be surprised to find a Foundation employee napping at their desk.

The Foundation will be open for the entire 24 hours of the event. Volunteers will be working shifts, but the Foundation employees will be there for the duration.

“We’re all really invested in this effort because we believe in the work of these organizations,” Gibble said. “This is a labor of love.”

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