In a time when local nonprofits need help the most, North Texans have come through.

North Texas Giving Tuesday Now – a joint giving effort between United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas and the Dallas Cowboys – raised $20.7 million for more than 2,500 nonprofits, according to organizers.

The event, which coincided with the global #GivingTuesdayNow, took place over 18 hours Tuesday, with early giving beginning online April 14.

In all 9,400 donors pledged more than 300,000 volunteer hours.

North Texas Giving Tuesday Now was set up to raise money for local nonprofits but with a focus on organizations that provide help to those impacted by COVID-19.

Organizers said despite this event getting put together in a much tighter timeframe than the traditional North Texas Giving Day in September, the results weren’t surprising.

“We are never surprised by the generosity of North Texans,” said Susan Swan Smith, chief giving day officer. “Even when times are tough for us individually, and with an event put together in four weeks instead of our typical 10 months, we always find ways to help support our neighbors. Today, our community went the distance – together – for untold thousands in need.”

Smith said food banks and other nonprofits focused on hunger and nutrition drew huge support, followed by those focused on education and social service organizations.

Marjorie Vaneskahian Burr, CEO of Allen Community Outreach (ACO), said Tuesday’s donations to the nonprofit surpassed those of the past two years’ Giving Day events. Early numbers show over $34,000 was donated by 173 donors to ACO.

“I continue to be amazed at the generosity of our communities,” Vaneskahian Burr said. “Our doors would be closed if it were not for our donors who continue to give. And they give whatever we ask for! If it’s money, it comes in. If we need food, they ask what and when and it comes right away. I am so grateful and proud of where we live.”

She said the community’s generosity has never been more important than it is now. Just Tuesday, the ACO food pantry served the most families they’ve had in a single day, aside from special holiday food distributions. 

“We had cars lined up two rows deep in front of the ACO Food Pantry to get food,” Vaneskahian Burr said. “The families coming to us have more than doubled in a month’s time.” 

And, she said, they expect those numbers to continue to increase. “I expect this to be a hard summer for many local families as they face job loss and trying to replace their income and bills that have piled up that become overdue and in jeopardy of cut-offs and evictions.” 

Because of the unprecedented nature of the need, ACO plans to prepare for maximum capacity of service, turning their focus onto emergency services, she said.

“Nonprofits are, more than ever before, being called to do much more with much less due to direct and indirect effects of COVID-19,” Smith said. “They are having to reinvent how they deliver programs and operations while keeping employees and while meeting higher demand. Their costs are higher, their resources are leaner, and the need is greater.”

In addition to the $20.7 million raised, foundations, companies and individual donors contributed $21.8 million to relief funds managed by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation and North Texas Community Foundation since the pandemic hit.

Donations to the relief funds are still being accepted.

North Texas Giving Day will return on Sept. 17.

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