TAMPA — On May 6, Tampa Bay area charities will be in a race to see which one can raise the most money in 24 hours.
The Florida Next Foundation and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are encouraging bay area residents to make donations to their favorite local charity on Give Day Tampa Bay as part of the nationwide “Give Where You Live” campaign.
People can go online to donate to any pre-registered charitable group from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco or Hernando counties. Each group is eligible for matching funds from national sponsors and bonus money throughout the day.
“We’re getting a lot of support of the community,” said Ned Pope, president Florida Next. “I think it’s going to be pretty impressive.”
Two months before Give Day, the already extensive charity list includes well-known groups such as Big Cat Rescue, Metropolitan Ministries and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay. But it also includes other, smaller local charities like the Clearwater Arts Alliance, the West Pasco Pregnancy Center and the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center.
Donors will have all day to give to as many charities as they want. The minimum donation amount is $10.
The charities that raise the most money and have the most donors each will get a $10,000 prize.
The fundraiser is especially targeted at the area’s small businesses and young business professionals, Pope said.
“We feel like it’s our time to take the torch and run with it and see what we can do with this community,” he said.
The Florida Next Foundation, which was founded by congressional candidate Alex Sink, is a non-profit that promotes innovation among small businesses and young entrepreneurs. It was during one of the foundation’s “Impact” forums when the organization realized more needed to be done to promote charitable giving locally, Pope said.
During those forums, members of the community have 90 seconds to make a pitch about how the foundation can help improve some aspect of the community, Pope said. Tyler Cathey, a lawyer from St. Petersburg, spoke about how the Tampa Bay region, one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, is ranked 260th in the nation for per capita giving.
“It kind of shocked all of us,” Pope said.
The foundation partnered with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, and decided to set up a local Give Day event.
Florida Next is encouraging local charities to register online as soon as possible and to start promoting Give Day Tampa Bay among their current donor bases, he said.
“I’d love to see this be an annual thing that our community really takes pride in,” Pope said.
To learn more about Give Day Tampa Bay or to register a charity, go to www.givedaytampabay.org.