United Way’s 401Gives Day collects $1.2M for nonprofits

PROVIDENCE – Close to $1.2 million was raised Wednesday for 365 Rhode Island-based nonprofit organizations in the United Way of Rhode Island’s inaugural 401Gives Day event.

The final tally, which saw more than 7,100 donors contribute to the cause, exceeded the United Way’s initial $1 million goal that it had hoped to reach when United Way originally planned the event. The organization had still hoped to meet that goal considering the current circumstances the state as a whole is in with the COVID-19 pandemic, and nonprofits facing various challenges surrounding fundraising.

UWRI CEO Cortney Nicolato told Providence Business News Thursday morning that she hoped 401Gives Day would be a “venue” for the community to “rise up and come together,” and the nonprofit sector – and the community at-large – was “yearning for a day” like Wednesday.

“March was rough for so many people,” Nicolato said. “[Wednesday] was filled with gratitude, hope and community all day long. I feel like everybody needed [Wednesday]. I had a number of people come up to me saying ‘I needed that,’ and these are people who are not in the nonprofit sector. They were folks donating. They needed a pick-me-up, and I feel like 401Gives Day really did that for the community.”

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The donations came in fast throughout the day. More than $500,000 was collected before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning – the event kicked off at 6 a.m. The $1 million mark was reached just after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night, about 12 hours before the event concluded.

Organizations collected between $10 to as much as $44,000 during Wednesday’s online initiative. Rhode Island Community Food Bank received the most money during 401Gives Day at $43,955 from 361 donations. Hope & Main, which hoped to raise $36,000 to help launch its Nourish Our Neighbors food initiative April 7, exceeded that goal by collecting $41,550 from 240 donors.

Other top-collecting nonprofits from 401Gives Day are:

  • United Way of Rhode Island, $27,246
  • Amos House, $26,135
  • The Village Common of Rhode Island, $25,634
  • The Gamm Theatre, $21,825
  • Foster Forward, $21,825
  • Dare to Dream Ranch Inc., $18,855
  • School One, $18,420
  • Rhode Island Free Clinic, $17,036

Word going around on social media about 401Gives Day also helped boost donations, Nicolato said. Both nonprofits like AS220, Crossroads Rhode Island and Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, and elected officials like R.I. State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, posted videos on Twitter throughout the day urging individuals to contribute and offering gratitude to those who did.

“If you saw the videos [on social media] the nonprofits were doing, if you heard from the folks on who they were donating to and why, all of our federal delegation, all of leaders in the community, everyone came together to spread that,” Nicolato said. “What a great way to start April.”

A complete rundown of all the nonprofits that collected funds are found on the 401Gives Day website.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.