New Haven nonprofits brought in close to $1.3 million in the annual community-wide “Great Give” organized by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
The event took place Tuesday and Wednesday. WNHH radio broadcast a 36-hour radiothon and videothon featuring members of 50 organizations who came into the studio to sing or recite poetry to help raise money for their causes. Overall, 11,306 individual gifts came in. The Community Foundation threw in $183,000 in matching money and prizes.
Thank you to everyone who contributed!
And thanks to everyone who brought songs, poems, and passion into the WNHH to pitch their organizations during the WNHH radiothon/videothon.
Highlights this year, besides the visit of ferrets from the Daniel Cosgrove Animal Shelter, cross-generational chants from LEAP and Solar Youth, and friction-hand yoga from 108 Monkeys, included …
… Arts in CT’s Barbara Alexander getting the marathon off to a rousing singing start in the morning …
… New Haven Land Trust’s Justin Elicker singing about cauliflower (after singing last year about kale) ...
… attorney and singer-songwriter Steve Mednick performing an original number to help raise money for Elm City Internationals (which attracted the most new donors), started and run by his daughter, Lauren Mednick …
... Elm Shakespeare bringing down the house ...
… and Orchard House driver Kenny C offering a taste of the musical selections with which he delights his elderly quarry on the road.
Click above if you’d like to watch the whole radiothon/videothon!
And read on to see what Jessica Buchanan of Neighborhood Services read over the air during her moment in the spotlight:
The Great Giver
Blighted properties are his nemesis. Generosity is his super power.
Neighborhood revitalization is his mission.
He is The Great Giver — a 24 pound rescue pup paying it forward.
Levon was just a regular dog. Eating, sleeping, going for walks. But, like most dogs, sometimes he got into trouble for chewing up flip flops and getting into the garbage.
(WOMP WOMP WOMP)
Then one day, when Levon’s human caught him digging up his neighbors petunias he noticed the abandoned house across the street. He thought, “Oh my DOG! That house looks sad and lonely. I wish I could fix it up and make it a safe place for a nice family.” He felt sad for a little bit until he saw a squirrel, ran after it, and promptly forgot about the blighted house.
Fast forward 4 years later. Levon didn’t get into the garbage anymore and only chewed on flip flops sometimes! After a grueling session of obedience school, Levon and his human were walking down Sherman Avenue when he stopped to smell the flowers blooming in the front yard of Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven. Curious to see what these 4 buildings were doing here, he ran straight through the front door. As his human trailed behind, he stood on his hind legs to get a better look of a picture on the wall of a blighted house, next to a very similar looking beautiful, energy-efficient home with a family and a dog smiling on the front porch.
“Hey,” Levon thought to himself, “that reminds me of the time I was digging up petunias in my neighbor’s yard and saw that lonely house across the street. WHAT IS THIS PLACE? MAYBE THEY CAN HELP THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET FROM MINE! MAYBE THEY DO THIS A LOT! MAYBE MAYBE MAYBE MAYBE” He started barking and twirling around wildly as his human burst through the door to scoop Levon up, apologizing to the people staring at Levon with bewilderment. As they walked away, Levon felt the urge to help NHS as they revitalize neighborhoods and help people realize their dreams of homeownership, but because he was a dog, he didn’t know how to help.
Levon, feeling very discouraged and hopeless for the house across the street from his house, became very sad and moped around his house all day. His human wondered why he was being so quiet, his head in her lap as she worked dilligently on her laptop. An email notification about The Great Give popped up just as Levon’s human got up to make dinner. Intrigued he used his paw to click on the email and read what it was about.
The subject line read: Help Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven win an extra $3000 during THE GREAT GIVE. Donate between 9am-10am TOMORROW! “OH MY DOG,” Levon barked, “I finally know how I can help that sad lonely house across the street!” But because he was a dog, he would need a plan to get his human to open her computer during that time.
The next day, Levon woke up earlier than usual, barking wildly and waking up his peacefully sleeping human. When his human got out of bed, he ran to her laptop, jumped up and down and twirled around. She didn’t know what he wanted, but needed to check her email so she opened it up and read through the massive amount of appeals coming from the more than 400 nonprofits participating in The Great Give. Just as she opened the email from NHS of New Haven, her tea kettle whistled. “Now’s my chance,” Levon thought. His human went into the kitchen and Levon used his paws to make a donation to NHS—Thankfully his human saves her credit card information in the computer, because he didn’t understand how numbers worked.
All of the sudden, Levon didn’t feel like sad and hopeless anymore! He felt helpful and powerful. He felt like a superhero—because he was. By donating to NHS of New Haven, Levon used his power of generosity to defeat blighted properties and become The Great Giver! He enlisted his trusty sidekick, Bankwell, to inspire others to help him in his mission of neighborhood revitalization. If Levon recruited others to use their generosity power and make a donation, Bankwell would match their powers—making every Great Giver doubly powerful.