Kristen Merrifeld, CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

Kristen Merrifeld, CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

People can make life-saving donations to help feed and house anyone struggling in the East Valley and around the state and meet other dire needs when nonprofit organizations push for support on Arizona Gives Day.

The annual online fundraising effort on April 2 aims to make giving to nonprofits quick and easy. More than 700 nonprofit agencies around Arizona, including over 20 in Chandler, Gilbert and Sun Lakes, are taking part in the fundraising day.

Donors can target nonprofit programs supporting children, the environment, animals or any other population they want to help. They also can search for nonprofits by location. The agencies participating in Arizona Gives Day include everything from low-budget, one-person organizations to larger and more well-known groups.

More than $13 million has been raised on Arizona Gives Day for nonprofits since the event started in 2013. Last year more than $3 million was taken in for the organizations.

While most donations are made online at azgives.org, some nonprofits have events leading up to Arizona Gives Day and on the day, said Kristen Merrifield, CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits.

 Arizona Gives Day is hosted by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum, and FirstBank presents it. While Arizona Gives Day happens just once a year, Arizona Gives (azgives.org) is available for people to make donations year-round.

“Most of the giving happens on azgives.org,” Merrifield said. “We do have nonprofits that have gotten really creative … we truly believe that there’s power in harnessing that collective giving. They’re being exposed to other nonprofits that maybe they didn’t know about until that day. We keep it really fun throughout the day for both the nonprofits and the donors.”

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits vets the nonprofits to make sure they are 501(c)(3) organizations and “are really charitably focused and community-driven,” she said. The tags azgives and azgivesday will be used onsocial media April 2 and nonprofits can apply for prizes.

Cash prizes worth $180,000 will be up for grabs on Arizona Gives Day. The prizes will be given in a variety of categories including for micro organizations that have annual revenues of less than $100,000 and for large organizations operating with annual revenues of over $1 million.

A Chandler-based nonprofit organization, AZCEND, plans to promote its annual Walk in the Park to End Poverty, which will take place April 6, on Arizona Gives Day on April 2. The ninth annual walk will start at 8 a.m. on April 6 at Discovery Park, 2214 E. Pecos Road in Gilbert.

AZCEND is a 50-year-old nonprofit organization offering various services including providing emergency food boxes, supplemental food boxes, services to help people who are homeless, as well as operating Gilbert and Chandler senior centers and offering rent and utility assistance.

Senior citizens can take yoga and other exercise classes, go on field trips and eat lunch at AZCEND’s Chandler Senior Center at 202 E. Boston St. and Gilbert Senior Center, 130 N. Oak St. Arizona Gives Day is a great way to generate support for AZCEND and other nonprofits around the state, Gibson said.

Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank in Chandler is another East Valley nonprofit organization participating in Arizona Gives Day. Jan Terhune, the food bank’s executive director, said “There’s a certain amount of misunderstanding about nonprofits. I think that Arizona Gives Day allows for a collective way to give the nonprofits a shout-out about what they’re doing.”

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