News and Events

First ‘Abilene Gives’ is Success for Local Philanthropy

by Megan Dobbs

It’s called “Abilene Gives” for a reason.  And, boy, did Abilene give during the inaugural community-wide giving day, raising more than $468,000!

A donor poses for a picture at the donation station inside The Enterprise building.

The Community Foundation of Abilene hosted the 24-hour online giving event to raise as much money as possible in a single day for the 119 participating local nonprofit organizations.

“I am so proud of Abilene and the donors that helped us raise $468,000 on May 2nd!  These dollars will be used by the nonprofits to strengthen and serve our community,” said CFA President and CEO Katie Alford.

The event was from midnight to midnight on May 2 and raised $468,024 for participating organizations, and the number of donations made via the event website,, totaled 2,554.

That amount of donations is reflective of the inclusivity that CFA Development and Donor Services Director Courtney Vletas says Abilene Gives signifies.

Children at The Grace made masks in celebration of Abilene Gives.

“Abilene Gives is about giving everyone the opportunity to take part in something special for their community,” said Vletas.

“It was exciting to see so many people engage and give to nonprofits they care about on May 2nd.  We are so grateful to the nonprofits for participating, to the partners and sponsors who provided generous prizes, and to the many donors who gave.  It was an amazing day.”

The prizes Vletas mentioned were among the most dynamic aspects of Abilene Gives.  The Foundation held almost hourly donor-based competitions sponsored by local businesses, giving nonprofits a chance to win bonus cash.

Prize winners were determined by donations made via and ranged from most “unique” donors within the hour, to the first gift received on the hour, to random drawings, and even an “Abilene Prize” given to the organization that received the 1881st donation of the day, representing Abilene’s founding in 1881.

A donor made a check presentation to Noah Project during Abilene Gives.


In addition to the prize opportunities, nonprofits that raised money also got a piece of the amplification pool.  With the help of CFA and other local donors, the Foundation secured $50,500 in amplification funds, all of which was divvied up among the nonprofits.  The percentage of amplification an organization netted was congruent with how much the nonprofit raised in relation to the overall giving day total.

Another component in the flourishing outcome of Abilene Gives was the diligent work of the nonprofits that marketed their giving day campaigns through social media, mailers, and other avenues.

Kids from St. John’s Episcopal School thanked CFA and donors on social media after Abilene Gives.

“I am also proud of the time and effort the nonprofits made to tell their stories to help us raise $468,000.  It was definitely a team effort which we loved being a part of,” Alford said.

The Foundation used the slogan, “When ABILENE GIVES, lives are changed,” throughout the event.  When you consider that thousands of donations were made in a single day for 119 diverse local charities, there is strong evidence that lives are indeed going to be changed for the better.

If Alford’s reaction to the first giving day is any indication, this type of effort to support local philanthropy has only just begun.

“We’re already planning for and looking forward to a bigger and better ‘Abilene Gives in 2018!”


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