6th Day of Giving Excites and Unnerves Pittsburgh Nonprofits

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May 6, 2014; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TribLive)

Joining several others taking place this week across the nation, the sixth annual Day of Giving put on by the Pittsburgh Foundation launched today, May 6th, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. This 18-hour event is part of Give Local America, a national day for community foundations across the country, marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first one. (There are more than 700 community foundations in the U.S., of which the Pittsburgh Foundation is the fourteenth largest.)

Since starting the program in 2009, the Pittsburgh Foundation has raised more than $25 million for charities in the counties of Allegheny and Westmoreland—and, this year, Butler County as well. The following chart provided by the Foundation shows levels of giving achieved in prior years:


Individual Donations

Dollars Raised

(in millions)





17,000 plus



13,000 plus



7,000 plus



900 plus


The Foundation matches donations made on the Day of Giving according to the following guidelines:

“Organizations will receive a pro-rated portrait of the match pool. The match will be capped at $1,000 per donor transaction per organization. Any gift of $25 to $1,000 per donor per organization will count towards the match pool. If a donor gives a gift in excess of $1,000 to an organization (for example, $1,500) only the first $1,000 will count towards the match pool. The Foundation conducts duplication checks, so if one donor makes multiple gifts of $1,000 to one organization, only the first $1,000 will count towards the match pool. This is not a dollar-for-dollar match.”

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, area nonprofit leaders are viewing this Day of Giving with a mix of anticipation and nervousness. On the one hand, it’s the biggest fundraising day of their year. Michele Margittai, director of development for the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, says that the Day of Giving is important because its donations are unrestricted. The VLP made about $11,000 from the event last year and hopes to make about $15,000 this year. ““What we like about it is it really harnesses the community where everybody is thinking about how they can support nonprofits in their community,” Margittai said. “It’s not just a fundraising day. It’s an awareness day, a friend-raising day, and I think there is value in that.”

On the other, the Pittsburgh Foundation announced last year that changes were coming—and those changes could involve “ending the program, continuing it but ending the match, or getting other groups to contribute to the match pool.” Furthermore, Grant Oliphant, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Foundation and strong supporter of the Day of Giving, is leaving in June to head the Heinz Endowments, leaving the decision of whether to continue the event up to the Foundation’s board. (For his part, Oliphant believes the Foundation will continue the Day of Giving, but will narrow its focus; “My guess is it might focus on a particular issue, like education or human services.”)

The Day of Giving is scheduled to continue until midnight. As of 9:00 a.m. Eastern, the total raised was north of $685,000. Those interested in giving or learning more can do so at PittsburghGives.org.—Jason Schneiderman