For the first time ever, Baton Rouge area nonprofits and community organizations are coming together to encourage a day of donations and awareness.

The inaugural 225 Gives event will take place on Tuesday, December 1. On that day, donors will be able to visit www.225gives.org, review a list of more than 200 participating nonprofits and donate directly to their chosen organizations. Organizers hope to generate at least $4,225,000 for area nonprofits.

The idea for the day of giving came about after larger local organizations saw the challenges facing nonprofits, particularly in light of COVID-19 and multiple hurricanes striking Louisiana.

“We realized that the situation was actually tougher than we thought,” said Ethan Bush, advisor at Trility Partners and a project manager for 225 Gives. “We started thinking about ways we could energize things and create some momentum heading into 2021.”

The idea for 225 Gives came about after organizers noted that other communities, including Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport, have long sponsored successful giving days.

The first step was to launch the website www.225gives.org and allow nonprofits to register to receive donations. Over 200 organizations will be participating once the donation period begins.

On the website, donors will be able to browse organizations or search for specific nonprofits. From there, donors can learn more about the nonprofits and send donations directly through a secure platform.

“It’s an easy way for donors to give to many nonprofits in one place,” said Robin Mangum, Corporate Relationship Manager for Capital Area United Way. “The participating organizations will be able to view donations in real time. There will be an overall leaderboard showcasing the collective total for the day, but individual nonprofits will also have a dashboard to see their donations as they come in.”

In addition to the 24-hour event on December 1, an Early Giving period opened on November 24 and runs through November 30 for those who want to get a head start on donations. Those contributions can also be made at www.225gives.org.

Bush said nonprofits of all sizes have registered to participate.

“I’ve already seen a lot of smaller nonprofits that I was not familiar with. It’s been great to learn about their missions and help them get their messages out to the masses,” he said. “We’ve also seen some larger nonprofits that you may have heard of and that are continuing to do great work throughout the community. It really is a mixture of small, medium and large groups.”

Mangum said that in preparation for the 225 Gives day, several sponsors have donated money to a Challenge Fund, which will provide additional dollars to nonprofits of all sizes. As of today, $500,000 is available in the Challenge Fund, and that number continues to grow. The Challenge Fund will be used to award cash prizes to the participating nonprofits, which are categorized as small, medium or large, depending on their annual operating budget.

With money from the Challenge Fund, additional monetary awards will be presented to nonprofits who win certain friendly competitions, including number of unique donors, total dollars raised, and donations made during certain time windows. Once those prizes have been awarded, each nonprofit that raises at least $225 will receive a proportional share of the remaining Challenge Fund balance.

“It’s a great opportunity to let nonprofits understand that if they work together, they can all raise more money and have access to dollars,” Bush said.

Based on research on similar giving days in other cities, Bush said organizers believe the Challenge Fund is one of the largest incentive funds in the country available for nonprofits.

“It’s amazing that in year one, we could generate not just dollars, but the excitement to help nonprofits,” he said. “We really thank those Challenge Fund partners and sponsors for stepping up and helping us get off to a great start.”

This year’s 225 GIVES partners include Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Capital Area United Way, Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana Foundation, Pennington Foundation, H&E Equipment Services, Humana and Price LeBlanc. Dozens of additional corporate sponsors have come together in support of 225 GIVES and can be found on the website.