Ocean City Today

Lower shore gives more on ‘Giving Tuesday’

By Greg Ellison | Nov 30, 2017
Source: File Photo Lisa Wilgus, executive director of the Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center, smiles for a photo at the nonprofit medical and resource clinic in Berlin.

(Dec. 1, 2017) The third annual Shore Gives More Giving Tuesday online charitable donation campaign raised more than $164,000, nearly doubling the 2016 tally.

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore organizes the local Giving Tuesday undertaking, which began in 2012 as an international 24-hour online philanthropic movement on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

Victoria Kent, Community Foundation marketing director, said more than 1,000 donors gave financial support to 80 lower shore nonprofits this year.

“Overall, we are thrilled with the results,” she said.

In addition to the bolstered dollar figure, Kent said the number of donors more than doubled and the number of nonprofits benefitting from the charity also increased.

“In 2016, we had 410 donors who supported 50 nonprofits,” she said.

The Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center in Berlin received the largest dollar figure, with 94 donations totaling more than $23,000.

Lisa Wilgus, Shirley Grace executive director, said since launching its outreach mission in 2010, the organization has steadily grown.

“Last year we served over 1,000 women,” she said.

Wilgus said a tight-knit group of eight women used social media, email blasts, handwritten letters and phone calls, to solicit nationwide support.

“The impact of this small tribe of woman was incredible,” she said. “We had donations from Florida, California and Washington State.”

Looking at the leaderboard, Wilgus was delighted to learn numerous Worcester County nonprofits received financial assistance.

“These grass roots organizations are really making a difference behind the scenes,” she said. “We’re all equals, we all just have a different role to play in the community.”

The Assateague Coastal Trust in Berlin was second with 17 donations raising more than $14,000.

In the early 1970s, the Coastal Trust began its efforts to protect the character of Assateague Island, and has since gone on to work to protect area watersheds. In the meantime, the nonprofit’s ranks have swelled to more than 1,000 members.

In third place was the Lower Shore Land Trust in Snow Hill, which had 19 donations totaling more than $7,600.

Founded in 1990, the Lower Shore Land Trust works to protect the rural character and landscapes of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties.

As part of its mission, the Land Trust works with property owners to research and implement land preservation options.

Since nonprofits like Shirley Grace operate on shoestring budgets, Wilgus said events like Giving Tuesday are especially poignant.

“People either have passion or they don’t,” she said. “When you hook them up with a cause that resonates with their soul they come alive.”

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