Article13 Do More-24

Do More 24 campaign volunteers (Photo by Hyon Smith Photography)

While Washington, D.C. and its surrounding counties have been identified as some of the most affluent areas in the nation, disproportionate access to resources still hinders many residents.

“There is a delicate balance with the pride of who we are as a region,” Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area told the AFRO on June 5. “It comes with the responsibility of taking care of those who are a little less fortunate.”

In the spirit of creating a continuum of giving back, in 2013, the United Way NCA created a 24-hour crowdfunding campaign to support the work of local non-profits. Utilizing an online platform, individuals could choose to donate to their favorite participating nonprofits or search for a nonprofit by cause or location.

“Girls on the Run DC raised $4,297 from DO More 24,” said Kristen Komlosy, executive director of that organization, which promotes joyful, healthy, and confident fun to a diverse group of girls, more than half of whom are African American.

Do More 24 campaign volunteers (Photo by Hyon Smith Photography)

“Doing so, allowed us to provide program scholarships to 23 girls who would not have been otherwise able to participate in Girls on the Run,” Komlosy said of her participation in the 2014 giving marathon.

On June 4, 612 nonprofits joined in the annual campaign, up from 564 in 2014. Throughout the day, social media pages blasted causes and reasons to contribute.

“Give the gift of a soccer uniform & make a kid feel… like a CHAMP!!” tweeted DC Scores, an organization combining poetry, soccer, and service-learning to 1,500 low-income DC youth. Later, the organization’s Twitter page revealed a total $8,568 in donations, translating to 357 uniforms.

“Give literature and a lifeline to young men in prison,” tweeted Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, a non-profit that works with District youth who are incarcerated as adults. Free Minds closed the daylong event with $9,222.

The top earners included Year Up – National Capital Region, Little Lights Urban Ministries, So Others Might Eat and REBOOT Combat Recovery, all of whom received at least $30,000. In total, over $1.4 million in online donations, cash prizes, bonus funds, and sponsor support was collected among participating organizations.

“This is our third year and I think this was probably our most transformative year in terms of the focus being not just on donations, but getting people connected with nonprofits to be able to potentially volunteer,” said Allen-Herring, who spent a portion of the day at Tyson’s Corner Mall filling shoeboxes with toiletries that were then delivered to nonprofits who serve the basic needs of individuals.

“One of the things that really got me excited was to see a group of volunteers who had disabilities – or different abilities – come in and volunteer for someone else,” she said. “It really just brought home the message that we could all do something. Everybody doesn’t have to be an expert in something, everyone doesn’t have to be rich, everyone doesn’t have to have a specific set of skills but everyone has something that they can do.”

To learn more about the campaign and get involved in next year’s festivities, visit www.domore24.org.