Representatives from nonprofits across Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro rallied together on Tuesday (April 2) at First Security Bank in Springdale in anticipation of NWA Gives, a region-wide giving day that will take place on Thursday (April 4) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Co-founders Chris Haas and Tim Howington envision Northwest Arkansas as becoming the “most generous community on Earth.” To accomplish that they are “leading 12 hours of giving; encouraging generosity in the DNA of NWA; and bringing systemic change to the nonprofit community by providing fundraising education, training and resources that benefit causes all year long,” according to their website.
As founders of a nonprofit, Freedom 5:one Ministries, they were involved for three years in a statewide giving day called Arkansas Gives that raised more than $12 million for 900 nonprofits in three years. Upon the conclusion of that initiative in 2017, they launched NWA Gives on April 5, 2018, and raised $210,000 for 114 nonprofits in 12 hours, Haas said. This year they hope to raise $500,000 for the 283 nonprofits participating.
Jesse Lane, NWA Gives steering team member and founder of Branches Mission Lab, told the rally crowd of 150 that the initiative is adding generosity to the list of great things Northwest Arkansas is known for.
“Thursday may be one day of giving, but I believe that the impact that will come will last for decades and decades,” Lane said. “So many lives will be touched possibly forever because of the work you [the nonprofits] are doing. We’re all about accelerating generosity and celebrating generosity.”
Jennifer Janda, community engagement manager with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas, said the organization hopes to raise $1,000 on the giving day. The money will be used to “throw a summer bash” where participants and their families can enjoy time at places like Fast Lanes Entertainment or Highrise Extreme Airsports, Janda said.
Ozark Guidance Foundation provides behavioral health services to clients in an eight-county area that includes Benton and Washington counties. Debbie Miller, director of fundraising and events for the organization, said the $2,500 it hopes to raise will go to help remodel the former Elks Lodge on South 40th Street in Rogers. The foundation paid $1.2 million for the 10,000-square-foot building last year.
Michelle Wynn, co-director of Childcare Aware, a nonprofit that helps families find childcare and offers new parent education classes and an in-home parenting program, said their goal is to have 5,000 diapers donated for their clients.
A complete list of participating nonprofits is available at nwagives.org.
First Security Bank and Gibraltar Capital Management are sponsoring the event by offering $23,000 in prize money, given out through drawings and to the 10 nonprofits that involve the most people on Thursday’s day of giving. Freedom5: One Ministries, Pure Charity and Branches Mission Lab are steering team sponsors.