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Community Foundation Gears Up For Biggest Day Of Giving In Norwalk

The Giving Day team, from left: Marie Pronesti; Elaine Mintz; Kristy Jelenik, Giving Day Program Manager; and RJ Mercede.
The Giving Day team, from left: Marie Pronesti; Elaine Mintz; Kristy Jelenik, Giving Day Program Manager; and RJ Mercede. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Kristy Jelenik, developmentmanager at the Fairfield County Community Foundation, calls it the "biggest philanthropic event of the year.”

It's the foundation's third annual Giving Day, set for Thursday, March 10, starting at midnight and continuing until 11:59 p.m.

To make a donation to a local charity, go to during that 24-hour period, select from among the 417 participating nonprofits and make a secure online donation of $10 or more.

And before you give, register for the sweepstakes — an opportunity to win a $1,000 donation to any participating nonprofit.

Jelenik noted that because people can make contributions of just $10, Giving Day is truly open to all. “It’s a great way for parents to get their kids involved,” to teach them about giving, giving back and helping others, she said.

Last year, more more than 13,000 people contributed almost $1.1 million to 386 Fairfield County nonprofits. The foundation looks toward more people participating in an even bigger event this year.

You can help Giving Day help nonprofits that serve a broad spectrum of needs, including Greenwich-based Abilis, which helps children with developmental disabilities; Literacy Volunteers of Greater Bridgeport, whose tutors help adult immigrants to read, write and speak English; Pink Aid, serving low-income women with breast cancer; Curtain Call Inc., Stamford’s only nonprofit producing theatre company, or Community Plates, which provides fresh, usable food to food-insecure families rather than throwing it away, among many others.

Giving Day also supports larger nonprofits, among them Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut, American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat For Humanity and 100 Black Men of Stamford.

And why not start your day celebrating at the foundation's Launch Party at the Warehouse at Fairfield Theater Company from 8 to 9:30 a.m. A lively breakfast, music, politicians, business leaders and policy makers, a photo booth, all to energize the start of this tremendous day of giving.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation manages funds for individuals and businesses and helps create programs of donations that support the nonprofits.

It also offers seminars to help nonprofits build communications skills, tell their story, use social media, and, ultimately, improve community outreach and fundraising. Overheard during a meeting at the foundation was a speakerphone comment: “In 30 seconds, tell me what your organization does.” The essential elevator pitch.

And through their Center for Nonprofit Excellence, FCCF helps executives make their organizations more effective by enhancing their abilities to “navigate challenges, articulate a vision, and better manage their staff and board.”

To learn more, visit .

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