We love our PIGS

Denise Sorom

Yes, pork is delicious, but we don’t mean those pigs, we mean our Partners In Giving – a group of donors who make annual gifts to support the work of the Community Foundation. Our PIGs, as we affectionately call them, took shape in 2013 due to an unlikely event: being turned down for a major grant.

We had applied for a competitive grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust to help us expand our staff. Our evaluator, who came and visited with us in person, was impressed by everything we did—our grantmaking, our capacity building workshops for nonprofits, and our scholarship program—except for one thing: He felt that we did not have enough people in the community that made annual, unrestricted gifts to support our work. (Our main source of operating income came from the management of the multitude of charitable funds that we steward.) He asked us how we would ever build up enough unrestricted funds to help us weather unforeseen challenges such as natural disasters, fluctuations in the stock market or a surge of unemployment. After 2020 and the devastating wildfires of the past few years, we wonder: perhaps this man had a crystal ball?

While it was a let-down to be denied the grant, we took his criticism to heart and decided to launch the Partners In Giving program. We started by asking board members and former board members to donate as little as $50/year to become a “PIG.” We found a mascot, an adorable stuffed plush pig named “Pardner,” and started to promote the opportunity in our marketing materials and over social media. The campaign took off. People far and wide sent us gifts to become PIGs and our favorite day was when 9-year-old Carly Everson dropped by with money she had saved up in her piggy bank.

Almost 200 individuals and businesses have signed on to become PIGs since 2013, generating over $300,000 in unrestricted funding for the Community Foundation! Our PIGS have paid for dozens of critically important projects since this time:

Every year our PIGs “round up” our scholarship awards giving students an extra boost in their financial support and last year, we surprised our most financially needy scholarship recipients with new iPads to help them get a leg up on their college career.

PIGs have supplemented our budget for grant making, allowing us to award more grants when nonprofits really needed our help.

About every 2 to 3 years, our PIGs help us pay for special training opportunities for our nonprofit leaders such as peer to peer coaching for leadership development or workshops with nationally known fundraising experts such as Susan Howlett.

PIGs have helped us transform our space, improving our conference rooms with new technology that we offer free of charge to nonprofits in our region.

Perhaps most impressively, PIG funds helped us launch GiveNCW in 2015 – a crowdfunding campaign that now raises several hundred thousand dollars a year for dozens of nonprofits each year.

In 2021, our PIGs will be providing an opportunity for nonprofits to receive customized strategic consulting, ensuring that our most valued charitable organizations survive the challenge of the COVID era and continue to serve this community for years to come. Our work without our PIGs would be like a BLT without the bacon. They make everything that much better. To learn more, visit www.cfncw.org/PIG


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