From September 15-22, Long Beach Gives (LBG) will be holding a “Gives Day” on their platform to help raise money for nonprofit organizations. LBG is an online platform that helps to bring together, and provide a platform for nonprofits of all kinds in the Long Beach area.
Long Beach Gives started in 2018, under their Executive Directors, Julie Meenan and Michelle Byerly, and their Program Manager Christina Kreachbaum. “I think Long Beach itself is special and the people living here care about Long Beach. I supported Long Beach Gives because I live here and I wanted to support the good work of my neighbor nonprofits,” Meenan said. While all nonprofits stay in their own lane, LBG acts as the freeway to help provide awareness of causes and programs for Long Beach residents.
Gives Day is the organization’s annual event, where donors raise money for their nonprofit of choice. When starting this event, Meenan and her team already had experience with Gives Days. “We were familiar with Gives Days in other cities. I actually personally studied Gives Days across the nation for my Masters project at Cal State Long Beach…We just took the best models that we saw and brought them to Long Beach and it has been very, very well received,” she said. In their first year, LBG helped raise over $800,000 in 2019, starting out with 83 nonprofits. The following year, they were able to double that amount to $1.6 million, and then $2.02 million the next year. These days they have gathered together a lot more to help raise money. In keeping with the “two” theme in it being 2022 and the event being on the 22nd, they want to reach $2.2 million, in collaboration with over 222 nonprofits this year.
Though they have been steadily increasing over the years, they still remain focused on the Long Beach area. “The focus is on serving Long Beach residents and supporting the organizations that do that work,” Meenan said. Though serving the residents hasn’t always been easy. Like many other organizations and businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted the organization’s ability to help out nonprofits. “There were life-threatening challenges to the nonprofits that were even offering their services or even staff being together. We had to switch to virtual training with the sensitivity of people getting COVID. There was also the justice movement that we were really trying to highlight, and not just be more noise in the air,” she said, referring to their second year in 2020.
To help raise awareness of Gives and the nonprofits they support, Meenan said that they will be branching out their social media presence more, with TikTok in particular on their radar. That, in addition to the social media presence that the nonprofits themselves already deliver, provide a large platform on which to spread their message for Gives Day. Meenan has also pointed out the growing trends within the Long Beach area based on what nonprofits people have been supporting as of late. “We have a very strong LGBT+ community that is continuing to grow and grow together. We also have a childrens and family category with around 50 or 60 organizations,” she said. She then continued to elaborate on why some nonprofits grow more than others. “Charitable giving comes from the heart, and individuals are always passionate about something in their life,” she said. “If it’s brushed their life and touched them personally, they are definitely much more inclined to help.”
LBG has also increased popularity in several nonprofits, allowing them to increase their programs and go deeper into the community. One such program is the BOSS (Business of Student Success) Program, which seeks to help provide academic avenues to boys of color. BOSS mainly seeks to help steer students towards STEM programs, in an effort to make sure that students get the best education they are able to provide. In their words, “We supplement what parents and schools can provide so that our boys are also from ‘advantaged’ households.” Another organization is The South Coast Chorale Grants are also a young organization, focused on inclusion for LGBT+ members with an emphasis on music, which managed to raise more than $20 thousand dollars in their first year. Unfortunately, they were hit hard once COVID hit and they found themselves unable to meet or perform together for over a year and a half. Thanks to Long Beach Gives, they were able to stay afloat financially and are on the list of nonprofits participating in the Gives Day.
As Long Beach Gives deals with one more Gives Day this year, it is important to remember the significance these nonprofits can have on the community. Gives Day acts not only as a charitable fundraiser, but also as a way for struggling nonprofits to get their voices and programs out there. Nonprofits that otherwise wouldn’t be reaching such a wide audience. Raising the $2.2 million not only helps the men, women, and children of Long Beach who need it, but it also provides people with the choice to support whichever idea, program, or community they are passionate about by bringing them all together.