Long Beach Gives returns this week with $2 million fundraising goal

Long Beach Gives returns for its third annual fundraising event on Thursday, with its largest goal yet: $2 million for nonprofit organizations across Long Beach.

Long Beach Gives aims to provide an opportunity for the community to easily discover and support the range of organizations that contribute to Long Beach.

The all-day online event featuring over 200 different nonprofit organizations to support will be held on Thursday, Sept. 23. However, donations opened for early giving on Sept. 17, and will end at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.

Website visitors can discover organizations through searching by cause (organizations will be grouped into 16 different causes, ranging from mental health, to LGBTQ+, to food security), by organization size, or by city council district. The website then allows visitors to discover more information about each nonprofit, and choose to donate any amount of at least $10.

“I love it when I see people’s comments that they always wanted to give, but they didn’t know where to start, and Long Beach Gives really provided them a way to browse different nonprofits, and discover what was going on in their city and find a cause that was important to them,” said Long Beach Gives campaign director Niko Galvez, who has worked with Long Beach Gives since its 2019 inception.

Not only do nonprofits include services such as food banks or animal rescues, but can also include certain news media sources, or even an organization that advocates for restaurant workers, said Galvez.

“I don’t think we realize the breadth of nonprofit work, or the economy that the nonprofit sector brings to Long Beach,” said Galvez.

Long Beach Gives began as a graduate school project for Julie Meenan, the executive director of the Josephine S. Gumbiner Foundation, and successfully raised over $871,000 for nearly 100 nonprofits. In 2020, over 150 nonprofits participated, raising more than $1.7 million.

Engaging newer or less visible nonprofits is a main goal of Long Beach Gives, said Galvez. More than 60 new nonprofits are participating this year.

“We want to make sure that we engage those nonprofits that might not otherwise think that they could qualify for something,” said Galvez. “Or, maybe they don’t have the capacity to do grant writing as much as they want, or they can’t hold a big gala, or they may not have a full-time marketing person, or they’re volunteer lead.”

“So Long Beach Gives can be a really great opportunity for them . . .  to build that camaraderie with other nonprofit peers and learn from each other and collaborate in different programs. So I’m always excited when a nonprofit that we’ve never heard of applies.”

A few participating organizations in this year’s Long Beach Gives include:

Children Today

Children Today has provided trauma-informed child development and family support to hundreds of families experiencing homelessness or maltreatment in Long Beach since 1997.

The organization’s vision is to support children under the age of 6 with a safe, nurturing space to play, learn, and grow, while their parents take steps towards financial stability. The children are provided nutritious meals along with clothes, hygiene products, and diapers, so that families can focus their resources on housing.

Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition

Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition supports the development of immigrant leaders through political education, leadership programs, wellness resources, and shared advocacy.

The organization works to transport power structures such as laws, budgets and policies that impact the immigrant community, while serving as a regional hub for information, services, and resources.

Since the pandemic, the coalition has supported immigrant families through the creation of #UndocuFundLBC, distributing over $1.5 million in direct financial aid.

Bluff Park Neighborhood Association 

Bluff Park Neighborhood Association is participating in a historic preservation project to install 1920s lamp posts, with a boost from Long Beach Gives.

Phase 1 of the lamppost project, consisting of 10 lampposts, was installed in 2019, and another 10 lampposts recently arrived and will be installed in the coming weeks.

“We’re honored to be selected as one of the Long Beach Gives nonprofit organizations,” said Jeffrey Mallin, president of the Bluff Park Neighborhood Association in a statement.  “The Lamppost Project holds a special place in the hearts of our community.”

The 1920s design is meant to spark discussions about local history and architecture, said Mallin. The Association was able to find the original manufacturer, embracing the original style from a century ago.

Major donors will be recognized with plaques on the bases of the new lampposts.

African American Cultural Center of Long Beach

The cultural center, meant to serve as a space to preserve, honor and celebrate the heritage of Long Beach’s Black community, is working towards its $22 million goal to secure a permanent location. Since September, the center has been located at a temporary site at the Expo Arts Center in Bixby Knolls.

The center’s goal is to develop exhibits (such as the Forgotten Images exhibit currently centering Black athletes), educational programs, and cultural events.

Able ARTS Work

Able ARTS Work utilizes creative art therapies to assist adults and children with disabilities, along with at-risk students.

Since 1982, the nonprofit has provided music and art therapy to adults, and in recent years extended their services to school-age children.

The organization is currently campaigning for “A Home of Our Own” — aiming to raise $2 million to purchase a building in Long Beach to serve as a permanent space.

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