Writer Joseph J. Airdo

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he entire world essentially came to an unprecedented standstill last month in response to the coronavirus pandemic. People stayed home, businesses made drastic modifications to their operations and events of all types were postponed or — in many cases — completely canceled.

No one was untouched by what has clearly become a historic incident. That includes nonprofit organizations across Arizona that made the difficult decision to pull the plug on concerts, festivals and other gatherings — key fundraising activities that allow them to operate and make our communities more vibrant places full of art, culture and humanity.

Arizona Musicfest pushed its performance of The Blues Brothers Revue to November. Foothills Animal Rescue indefinitely postponed its 4th Annual Paws to Celebrate event. Musical Instrument Museum called off a number of its concerts and signature events.

The effects are far-reaching.

Arizona Broadway Theatre’s executive producer Kiel Klaphake wrote a message on the theater’s website detailing the difficult decision to cancel some of its productions and place others on an indefinite hiatus.

“Weighing the importance of public health as a top priority, our financial viability and the loyalty and commitment we feel toward our staff and patrons has been — quite simply — agonizing,” Klaphake wrote. “As a not-for-profit arts organization, the coming weeks and months will be the most challenging we’ve faced in our 15-year history — perhaps even greater than the financial crash of 2008.”

Klaphake urged Arizona Broadway Theatre’s patrons to make tax-deductible donations to the nonprofit organization, noting that such contributions are vital to the theater’s future.

On Tuesday, April 7, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum will host a 24-hour statewide online fundraising event to help raise awareness about Arizona nonprofits and the critical role they play in our communities and state. The event — which is in its eighth year — is not new, but it has suddenly become more important than ever with timing that is absolutely impeccable.

Some nonprofit organizations expect to lose an average of 25% in revenue as a result of the many event cancelations and postponements caused by coronavirus health precautions. Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits CEO Kristen Merrifield hopes that Arizona Gives can help close the gap.

“Our local nonprofit community is already reporting significant losses, decreases in staff and volunteer capacity and will likely see an increase in demand for services,” Merrifield says.

Since 2013, Arizona Gives has helped to raise more than $17 million for the state’s nonprofit sector — including a record $3.6 million raised last year — with the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum partnership facilitating financial contributions through a unique online platform.

Those who wish to make a donation can simply visit the Arizona Gives website on Tuesday, April 7 and issue their contribution.

“We want to make giving as easy as possible,” Merrifield says.

Donations will also be accepted prior to and after April 7, but doing so on Arizona Gives Day makes it possible for participating nonprofit organizations to earn additional funds from a $180,000 prize pool. Those funds are distributed based on certain categories from random drawings and through Power Hours to total dollars raised during the 24-hour period.

This year, donors have the option to increase their contribution to support an Emergency Relief Fund to assist nonprofit organizations that have had to cancel or postpone critical fundraising events during this extremely difficult time. Those contributions may be made as an add-on to a regular donation or by making a direct donation to the Emergency Relief Fund itself.

Emergency Relief Fund donations will be distributed evenly among the organizations participating in Arizona Gives Day this year.

At Images Arizona’s press time, almost 780 nonprofit organizations had registered and been certified to participate in the event. With all of the recent event cancelations and postponements caused by the coronavirus health precautions, that number has most certainly increased.

However, if there is one thing that these difficult times have shown us, it is that we need to come together, help one another and exhibit all of the benevolence of mankind to overcome the impact that this historical and unprecedented incident has had on our communities.

Merrifield hopes this year’s Arizona Gives Day inspires people to give generously to the nonprofit organizations that make our state stronger and create a thriving community for all.

“The beauty of Arizona Gives Day is that it shows what is possible when we all invest our time, talents and treasures to truly lift the tide of all nonprofits that participate,” Merrifield says.



Arizona Gives Day

To make a donation, simply visit the Arizona Gives website at azgives.org on Tuesday, April 7 and issue your contribution.