By PETE DELEA
Daily News- Record 4/15/19
HARRISONBURG — For Maria Simonetti of the Collins Center and Child Advocacy Center, the Great Community Give is about more than just raising money — it’s about raising awareness.
She said many people don’t know that Harrisonburg and Rockingham County have a nonprofit geared toward helping sexual abuse survivors.
“It introduces them to us,” said Simonetti, the center’s executive director. “They are exposed to a host of nonprofits in the region they might not have known existed.”
On Wednesday, the group will be among 89 to participate in the second annual Great Community Give, which is an online fundraising drive featuring incentives to help local nonprofits meet goals to fund their operations. It is organized by The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Simonetti, who set a goal of $10,000, said the organization is funded through grant money and community donations. She said donations help pay for programs grant money doesn’t fund.
She said the center is working on getting a therapy dog and hosts trauma- informed yoga groups and art therapy.
“Community giving means the world to us,” Simonetti said.
Last year, the community gave a lot, said Revlan Hill, an organizer for the event and the executive director of the foundation.
In its inaugural year, the initial goal was $70,000, but by the end of the day, almost four times more had been raised, with $276,820 going to 53 local nonprofits. Contributions gathered from local businesses in advance brought the grand total to about $340,000.
This year, organizers have set a goal of $330,000 for the online fundraiser, which will take place from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is also a goal of 3,333 individual donors.
Hill said she hopes everyone will consider giving something.
“This is one event where the whole community can come together and do something for a our community for as little as $10,” Hill said. “It really is a fun day.”
She said donors can give anonymously, with their donation only known by the organization receiving the funds. The name won’t be posted online.
To encourage greater giving, The Community Foundation is putting up $70,000 in incentives to be awarded to nonprofits, in addition to the money raised.
Grand prizes will be based on most individual donations, as well as most money raised, with first place earning $6,000, second place earning $4,000 and third place earning $2,000.
There will also be hourly prizes of either $1,000 or $1,500, alternating between a combination of most individual donors, most money raised and a golden ticket random prize of $500.
Nonprofits with 100% of their boards donating by 4 p. m. will be eligible to win another prize.
Among the new participants this year is the Sadie Rose Foundation.
Grottoes resident Regina Harlow started the foundation in 2008 to support parents who lose children. Her daughter, Sadie Rose Harlow, died June 20, 2007, 17 hours after being born.
The foundation has worked with parents who have lost children from car crashes, illnesses, crimes and other causes of death.
Harlow said the foundation is funded solely on donations. Without the community’s generosity, her mission wouldn’t be possible.
“It’s really the heart of the organization,” she said. “It provides the space and personnel to help people that are in grief.”
Harlow set a goal of $10,000. If that goal is met, WSVA reporter Karl Magenhofer, who serves on the Sadie Rose board, will take a dip into Silver Lake in Dayton.
In May 2009, Karl and Angela Magenhofer received devastating news. At 26 weeks pregnant, they lost their son, Camden Lee Magenhofer, to preeclampsia — a pregnancy complication usually caused by high blood pressure and signs of damage of another organ system.
Magenhofer said every donation will help the countless families like his.
“The Sadie Rose Foundation is not only important to me because of the support they provided us when we lost Camden, but also because of the extended family it has become,” he said. “As I have said probably too many times, in the midst of a tragedy having someone say that they understand what you’re going through and they actually do understand, is a very special thing.”