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State Day of Giving a success

The first Mississippi Day of Giving was a collaborative success for many local charities and nonprofits in the Oxford area Saturday.

The Day of Giving is part of a statewide effort to support charities and nonprofits as well as grow resources for champion causes.

“The Day of Giving allowed us to focus our efforts to support many organizations around one event, instead of creating dozens of small fundraisers, we could marshal supporters around one big push,” Director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council Wayne Andrews said.

Statewide, about 200 Mississippi nonprofit organizations raised more than $300,000 during the Mississippi Day of Giving.

More than 700 nonprofits in all 82 counties of the state participated Saturday, and 29 participants were from Oxford. Several of those groups had a tent set up in the Grove for the game and also walked around the Square to help publicize and support the Day of Giving since donations were all made online.

Engage Mississippi helped start the giving initiative led by state leaders in business, the arts, nonprofit development, education, government and related fields. It is focused on collecting the state’s resources and putting them toward a common goal to create a foundation for solving community problems through donations.

The organization tries to answer the question, “How do we build stronger community organizations and also get them the money and other resources they need to effectively solve pressing problems in Mississippi?”

“The Arts Council was happy for Engage Mississippi to organize the Day of Giving as it allowed us to offer a shared tool and drive to support numerous organizations in the community,” Andrews said. “YAC worked with VOX, Film Festival, Art to Go, Yokna Sculpture Trail and others to raise funds for programs in our community.”

In addition to receiving funds generated from online donations, Engage Mississippi awarded charities extra funds for reaching specific milestones online.

The Oxford Film Festival won an extra $1,000 for having the most donors from 6 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. from Engage Mississippi. The festival also received another $200 prize for the most donors from CREATE.

Director Melanie Addington said the Oxford Film Festival joined Day of Giving to promote online donations.

“We hope to gain more exposure statewide through this event, plus raise a portion of our funds for the 2016 fest,” Addington said.