By Jessica Brodie
Some of South Carolina’s United Methodist-associated ministries will have the opportunity to participate in regional “days of giving” May 5, and they are hoping Methodists across the state will step up and help them get the funds they need.
At least six Advance Special Ministries and at least one other UMC-associated ministry are participating in either Lowcountry Giving Day, Midlands Gives or Support Spartanburg County on May 5, a local daylong online giving challenge designed to encourage people to support their favorite causes.
Donations to Lowcountry Giving Day (www.lowcountrygivingday.org) will help Rural Mission Inc.; donations to Midlands Gives (www.midlandsgives.org) will help Alston Wilkes Society, The Cooperative Ministry, Epworth Children’s Home, Jubilee Academy and Killingsworth; and donations to Support Spartanburg County (www.supportspartanburgcounty.org) will help Bethlehem Center Spartanburg.
The organizations say the giving days will be a huge help, as funds are so desperately needed.
“The families we serve are often deprived, many on fixed incomes, so they come to Rural Mission and ask for help, and in order for us to be there for them, we have to have financial support,” said Linda Gadson, executive director of Rural Mission, which works to strengthen Sea Island families by meeting housing needs, as well as helping with basic human needs, including food, utility bills, prescription medication, vehicle repairs and more. “Lowcountry Giving Day is one big way of getting some of those needs met.”
Likewise, said S. Anne Walker, executive director of Alston Wilkes Society, Midlands Gives is a great opportunity—not only to help organizations but to remind people that it is truly greater to give than receive.
“The Alston Wilkes Society has been giving to those who need our services for 53 years. By supporting Midlands Gives, participating nonprofits and, in turn, those they serve benefit beyond measure,” said Walker, whose group helps former offenders and others rebuild their lives.
How it works
On May 5, people are invited to visit the giving websites, search for their nonprofit of choice and make a donation. Each website has a minimum donation—$10 for Support Spartanburg County, $20 for Midlands Gives, and $25 for Lowcountry Giving Day—but there is no maximum. One hundred percent of the gift goes directly to the nonprofit, and most of these organizations will receive matching gifts up to a certain amount, so a donor’s gift is worth much more.
The Lowcountry and Midlands days will run any time May 5 between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. (EST), while the Spartanburg day will run 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST).
In addition to giving to the UMC-associated ministries, people can also select from many others who can also use financial assistance. Nearly 180 organizations are included in Lowcountry Giving Day, more than 250 in Midlands Gives and more than 70 in Support Spartanburg County.
“Midlands Gives is an example of the wider community supporting a United Methodist ministry like Epworth Children's Home,” said Andrew Boozer, Epworth’s vice president for development. “It provides a platform where people in the Midlands, especially young people who receive most of their information online, can learn about the great work many United Methodists have known about and supported for a long time. A benefit of Midlands Gives is that it provides another way to support the mission of Epworth Children's Home. While the offering plate and direct mail is ideal for some audiences to give to Epworth, for others an online giving blitz meets their lifestyle better.”
Gifts also qualify Epworth and other groups for additional prizes and matching donations that can multiply the impact of an online giving day.
The Cooperative Ministry also said it is grateful for the chance to be a part of the giving day.
“Our work of serving the Midlands working poor is like that of other missionaries who go where they are needed to provide material and spiritual help to lift people from their troubled circumstances,” said Beth H. Irick of The Cooperative Ministry, encouraging people to use the day to support their group and the others on the site.
‘A great feeling’
This is Rural Mission’s first year participating in the giving day; they needed someone to give them a $10,000 lump donation through the giving day first in order to quality for a matching gift up to $10,000, Gadson said, and the fact that someone stepped up even to do just that warms her heart.
“It’s a great feeling and a great challenge,” Gadson said. “When I think about Rural Mission being faith-based, truly faith-based, and having someone to donate this $10,000 as a gift—that in itself gives me a feeling of affirmation for our work, that all these years that we’ve been trying to share have not gone in vain.”
Other regions across the country are organizing similar giving days; these were the three events in South Carolina the Advocate knew about as of press time. In addition, there might be other UMC-associated ministries not included in the seven mentioned above. Check your local community for information on whether there is a giving day nearer to you.
By Jessica Brodie