Local nonprofits seek donations during 24-hour NH Gives program

  • Plowshare Farm in Greenfield is participating in NH Gives in hopes of funding the remainder of its walking path project that will create a half-mile loop on the farm. Courtesy photo—

  • Plowshare Farm in Greenfield is participating in NH Gives in hopes of funding the remainder of its walking path project that will create a half-mile loop on the farm. Courtesy photo—

  • Giving Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/7/2021 7:04:31 AM

For 30 years, Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter has been a place where individuals and families experiencing homelessness could turn to at their time of need.

Until early this year, MATS had one property in Peterborough that consisted of four apartments that could house up to 17 people. But the organization now has a second property in Peterborough, purchased in January after a generous gift from the will of Elsie Procter van Buren of Peterborough.

The second property will act as what MATS board member Denise Frankoff called phase two living, for those who have completed the phase one program but have not secured permanent housing. But the building was constructed as a single-family home and MATS plans to renovate it into two independent living areas for two families and up to 10 people. The cost of the project will be between $70,000 and $80,000, Frankoff said, and starting today, MATS is hoping to get a jump start on the fundraising effort through NH Gives.

The annual 24 hours of giving created by the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits begins Tuesday, June 8 at 5 p.m. and runs through Wednesday, June 9 at 5 p.m., giving the public a chance to come together and help fund the nonprofit organizations doing great work in New Hampshire communities. MATS is seeking to raise $10,000 toward the renovation.

“We would be so happy if we got there,” Frankoff said. “We’re hoping we can raise at least $10,000 through NH Gives, which would be significant for us.” Three years ago, Frankoff said, MATS came up with a five-year strategic plan and “one of our goals was to address the affordable housing crisis by purchasing another building. It’s a small contribution, but it’s an important contribution to solving the crisis.”

Frankoff said that according to state statistics, homelessness increased by 21 percent last year and she attributes that directly to the lack of affordable housing.

Those who enter the MATS program need a helping hand to get back on their feet to work toward finding permanent housing. MATS provides assistance with finding agency and community resources and with transportation, health, childcare, legal, housing and employment issues, as well as guidance in setting and reaching goals. The phase one housing is for those “who are transitioning from being homeless to finding a home.”

But given the housing shortage, even those who are ready to find a place to live, the options are limited. The new property will allow for them to move out of the current MATS location into a more independent space.

“They’re ready to be independent. They’re working, their kids are in school, but there’s nothing affordable in the area,” Frankoff said.

Prior to COVID, the average stay was eight to 10 months “but the pandemic has really changed that,” Frankoff said. “Now it’s about a year.” She said there are three families ready to move on, but they have been unable to find affordable housing.

“People don’t realize how many people are struggling with housing,” she said.

Depending on how the fundraising goes, Frankoff said the goal is to have the renovation complete by the fall. And it starts with NH Gives.

NH Gives is one of the most important fundraising days of the year for many Granite State nonprofits. Some use it to fund specific projects, while for others it will help boost the operating budget.

Plowshare Farm in Greenfield is participating in NH Gives for a third straight year and has set a goal of $8,000 to help fund the second half of a walking path project on the farm’s grounds.

The project, which is about 500 feet of crushed gravel and stone from lower Whitney Drive to lower Plowshare Lane through one of the property’s pastures, is a necessity for those living in the life-sharing community. It will help eliminate the need for community members and staff to navigate a difficult stretch of Mountain Road, turning the current horseshoe path into a half-mile loop on the property.

The total cost of the project is $17,000, but Plowshare Farm Administrator Sam Blair said Plowshare has already raised $9,000 to cover the cost of the planning, and site work that consists of solving drainage issues and regrading. The remaining cost, which Blair is hopeful can be raised in the 24 hours of NH Gives, will cover the cost of the materials and installation, and lighting along the path.

“We’re hopeful and excited to have supporters come out again,” Blair said. Last year, Plowshare had more than 50 donors contribute to their goal.

Participating in NH Gives is an opportunity for people to support meaningful work.

“It’s a great way to invite new and younger people to get involved in the spirit of giving,” Blair said. “It’s a quick and easy way to make a difference in real projects in the community.”

Ellen Avery, executive director of Community Volunteer Transportation Company, said this is the sixth year the organization has participated in NH Gives. In 2020, 71 volunteer drivers provided rides to 234 people from 34 towns in the Monadnock region, logging 69,918 miles.

Since it comes at the end of the fiscal year for CVTC, Avery said the amount raised will go toward general operating expenses for things like marketing and ads, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“We get a little bit more each year. The number of donors, as well as the amount of money, has increased every year,” Avery said. “Every little bit helps. We take what we can get and are very thankful.”

CVTC Board Chair Eileen Fernandes is participating in what is known as peer-to-peer fundraising, Avery said, enticing her network to give.

“It’s really capitalizing on all those relationships,” Avery said. “It causes this ripple effect with people out there beating the CVTC drum.”

And those are just a few of the stories from many nonprofits in the Monadnock region participating in 2021.

NHGives.org is an easy-to-use platform where people can learn about nonprofits in the Granite State and donate directly. For 24 hours, donations are tallied as participating nonprofit organizations compete for additional cash prizes, with leaderboards displaying progress. People can choose from nearly 600 nonprofits to support – and take advantage of more than $1 million in matching gifts to increase the impact of their contributions.

“Granite Staters showed up big for nonprofits in 2020 and we are inviting them to join us again,” said Kathleen Reardon, CEO of the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, in a press release. “Together, we can make a huge impact by showing our support for the nonprofit organizations that are enriching our lives and keeping our communities strong.”

In June 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, NH Gives shattered all previous records, raising more for New Hampshire nonprofits than it had in the previous four years combined. An unprecedented 14,000 people gave $3.4 million to nearly 500 nonprofits in just 24 hours – including $1 million in the first eight minutes of the event. 

Since the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits launched NH Gives in 2016, the event has raised more than $4.8 million.

NH Gives is an opportunity for people to come together to support organizations that are doing important work to support New Hampshire communities.

“Nonprofits have been a real bright spot in our communities through an incredibly challenging time,” said Richard Ober, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, in the press release. “They did not falter when they were most needed. Nonprofits will be essential in helping rebuild – and in improving quality of life for everyone who calls New Hampshire home. New Hampshire Gives is a moment for us to come together as one community and show nonprofits that we are behind them.”

There will be multiple opportunities for people to double their donations. Almost $320,000 in matching funds, made possible by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and its donors, will be offered at intervals during the 24-hour event to help encourage people to give. In addition, donors have offered more than $700,000 to match donations to specific nonprofits.

A 24-hour live stream on NHGives.org and Facebook will feature participating nonprofits, New Hampshire notables and entertainment. Greg Kretschmar, the host of Greg & the Morning Buzz, and Scott Spradling, an Emmy Award-winning former reporter, anchor and political director for WMUR-TV, will host the live stream from 4:45 to 9:30 p.m. on June 8 and from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on June 9 from the NH PBS studios in Durham.

“New Hampshire PBS is proud that NH Gives will be streaming LIVE from the NHPBS studios.  We’re honored to highlight the critical role nonprofits play in the Granite State. We encourage everyone to support these vitally important organizations,” says Peter Frid, NHPBS president and CEO.

For more information and a full list of participating nonprofits, visit https://www.nhgives.org/.


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