The Pittsburgh Foundation

May 7 Critical Needs campaign backed by record incentives

#ONEDAY giving event to fund basic needs for vulnerable in region

PITTSBURGH, March 27, 2019 – With at least one-third of the regional population living at or on the verge of poverty and struggling to meet basic needs, The Pittsburgh Foundation is organizing a Critical Needs Alert online fundraising event this year with its largest-ever incentive pool of $788,000 to help bolster giving from the public. Funds will be raised for 190 nonprofit organizations that support basic needs in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

The Critical Needs event, under the #ONEDAY banner, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. through the Foundation’s PittsburghGives.org donation portal. Every donation of $25 or more will trigger additional funding from the incentive pool.

“This record-breaking incentive pool exemplifies the generosity of the people of this region when neighbors need a hand,” said Foundation President and CEO Maxwell King. “By giving on this one day, together, we will significantly ease the burden that many people experience meeting basic needs.”

The $788,000 incentive pool includes $50,000 that will be divided among 30 Westmoreland County nonprofits, eight of which are first-time participants in Critical Needs.

This year’s campaign aligns with the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, which, since 2015, has sought to ensure that the 30 percent of regional residents who live at or near the federal poverty line have new opportunities to participate in the region’s improved economy. With job growth stalled, and child poverty rates at 17 percent in Allegheny County, the demand for such basic services is challenging nonprofits, especially smaller, community-based organizations.

The five priority areas for this year’s Critical Needs Alert are:

  • Child Care - Programs providing child care for infants and children up to age 6. (Those that provide only before- or after-school programming do not qualify.) 
  • Food and Nutrition - Organizations such as food pantries, food banks and soup kitchens that provide food to those who don’t have the ability to meet daily needs. 
  • Housing - Organizations providing direct shelter to individuals and families facing homelessness or other housing crises. 
  • Physical and Mental Health - Organizations providing clinical physical and mental health care.
  • Transportation - Organizations with a core mission that includes providing transportation to those in need. (School programs that provide transportation to students from the core program do not qualify.)

The catalyst for 16 hours of giving: The #ONEDAY campaign will prorate payouts from the pool based on the total raised by each organization. The goal is to encourage public giving over the full 16 hours of the Critical Needs Alert. While donors can give as much as they like, incentive funds will be capped at $1,000 per donor per organization to ensure that funds are distributed across as many organizations as possible.

“Since switching to the prorated method in 2015 for Critical Needs Alerts, we’ve seen how this approach leads to giving over the entire day,” said Kelly Uranker, director of the Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy, and manager of the Foundation’s online fundraising events. “It encourages people to keep giving and leads to more donations and more opportunities for nonprofits to increase their base of individual donors.” 

The Foundation’s previous five Critical Needs Alerts raised a total of $4.9 million, including match funds, and each targeted a specific area of need – food insecurity in 2013 and 2018, housing insecurity in 2014 and 2015, and basic needs – child care, food, housing, mental and physical health care, and transportation – in 2017 and again this year.

An additional $718,000 was raised for the #LoveIsStronger campaign following the Tree of Life shooting in November of last year, which benefitted eight organizations.

Technology partner CiviCore: The Pittsburgh Foundation will use the online giving platform CiviCore for the #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert. CiviCore’s platform powered the successful #SafetyNetPGH, #FeedPGH and #LoveIsStronger giving events.

Critical Needs Alert giving events align with the Foundation’s mission of improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region by evaluating and addressing community issues, promoting responsible philanthropy and connecting donors to the critical needs of the community.

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