Foundation News

East Texas Giving Day Raises $479K

The first East Texas Giving Day, powered by East Texas Communities Foundation, raised more than $479,000 for nearly 200 area nonprofits.

The Promise Academy, a Christian school in Tyler, raised the most money on Giving Day with more than $30,000 in gifts, followed by People Attempting To Help (PATH) and The Hospice of East Texas.

Giving Day donations came from 22 states and two countries (the U.S. and Canada). East Texas donors met the national average of 35 percent of donors indicating that they were first-time givers to their chosen charity.

The online fundraising effort began at midnight May 3 and ended at 5 p.m. May 4. Donations were on track to reach the $1 million goal before a technical problem significantly slowed online giving. Kimbia, the third-party software provider based in Austin, accepted full responsibility for the computer problems that affected nearly 50 events nationwide, and reduced processing fees for the event by one third.

Kimbia’s staff is working diligently to understand the problem and prevent its future recurrence. The company has hosted several error-free giving events since May 3rd. ETCF is monitoring their response to the issue and will make a decision later this year regarding the selection of a technology partner in 2017.

“Thankfully, the true spirit of the day was not dependent on technology,” East Texas Communities Foundation President Kyle Penney said. “Donors rallied in their communities and were directed to other channels to support area nonprofits.”

Infographic Giving day

East Texas Giving Day will be regional crowdfunding event

On May 3, residents across 32 counties in East Texas will be able to participate in an online crowd-funding event to support local nonprofits. The 24-hour online giving challenge, hosted by East Texas Communities Foundation at , will begin and end at midnight. That’s right, no driving required. No mulligans and no chicken dinner; just go online and make a donation to your favorite charity. The goal of this event is to help local nonprofits engage new and existing donors in an enthusiastic new way.

East Texas Giving Day Logo

I have a confession to make, though. I am not an early-adopter. The only car I ever bought new, I kept for 14 years. My first iPhone was the iPhone 4, and I kept it until the buttons quit working. I did not participate in the ice bucket challenge in 2014, but I watched in awe with my nonprofit colleagues as the ALS Association raised more than $115 million in six weeks in the late summer of 2014. More than 17 million people uploaded their challenge videos to Facebook; these videos were watched by 440 million people a total of 10 billion times. It is now an annual event to raise awareness and funds to find treatments and a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. According to the ALS Association, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became the world’s largest global social media phenomenon. The question remains, how can we harness the power of crowdfunding for our favorite charities?

Many of you are closely connected to what is happening in the Dallas area through work or friends and family, and may have heard of North Texas Giving Day. My friends at Communities Foundation of Texas have done us a great favor by working many of the bugs out of the Giving Day program since they began hosting one in 2009. The first North Texas Giving Day raised $4 million from 6,500 donors to support 345 nonprofits. In 2015, North Texas Giving Day broke its own national record with $33 million raised in 18 hours from 118,663 gifts for 2,022 nonprofits.

You might say it is easy to do something like that in a city of 6 million people, but how can we expect to do something like that in East Texas? That’s the beauty of crowdfunding. It is not an expensive and labor-intensive event like a golf tournament or gala. The event is giving, and all giving takes place online. When donors visit , they will be able to search and review various nonprofits that have registered to participate, and make a contribution to benefit their selected charities. Donors and nonprofits can track the progress of gifts throughout the day via the online leaderboard. Incentive prizes will be awarded to charities for achievements such as largest number of gifts over the lunch hour or most dollars raised in a certain time period.

One of the most remarkable statistics from North Texas Giving Day in 2015 was that 35 percent of donations were first-time givers to the nonprofit. In fact, the percentage of first-time givers has been at or above 25 percent for the last three years. One of our objectives at ETCF is to increase philanthropy in our region. East Texas Giving Day, if it follows the trends of Giving Days around the country, will allow nonprofits in our region to attract and engage new donors based on social media influences and heightened community awareness of philanthropy on Giving Day. Many nonprofits are effectively using Giving Days to attract millennials and younger donors who will eventually need to replace consistent support from older donors.

More than 40 communities around the country will be participating in Giving Day on May 3, including Shreveport-Bossier, San Antonio and San Angelo in the Southwest. North Texas Giving Day and Arkansas Gives, which also may engage some of the peripheral communities in our region, will be held in September and April, respectively. No matter where you live in East Texas, you should be able to find a local charity to support on a community Giving Day this year.

Nonprofits can begin registering for Giving Day at . A series of webinars and online tools will be made available to nonprofit leaders over the next several months to help them maximize their efforts for this one-day event. Please encourage your favorite charities to register and plan to participate yourself on East Texas Giving Day, May 3. Based on the experience of many other communities in recent years, I think you will find East Texas Giving Day to be a warm, dry and fun way to encourage philanthropy in your community and give well.

ETCF To Host First Ever Regional Day of Giving in East Texas

Residents across thirty-two counties in East Texas are invited to participate in the first-ever East Texas Giving Day to be held Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The 24-hour online giving challenge, hosted by East Texas Communities Foundation, will begin at 12:00 a.m. and conclude at 11:59 p.m. at

“Giving Days are becoming wildly popular around the country, spurred by caring communities and fueled by emerging technology and a new generation of donors,” commented Kyle Penney, President of East Texas Communities Foundation. “Our community foundation neighbors in the metroplex have led the way in developing technology that makes this kind of event possible. For several years, we have watched the growth of North Texas Giving Day and feel East Texans will embrace this idea just as enthusiastically as the residents of Dallas and Fort Worth have.”

The purpose of an area-wide Giving Day is to bring the region together on one day and as one community, enthusiastically raising money and awareness for East Texas nonprofits. This initiative, organized by East Texas Communities Foundation (ETCF), provides citizens across ETCF’s 32-county service area an easy platform to support the mission of local nonprofits that serve as the backbone for many communities.

One of the pillars of ETCF’s mission is to provide simple ways for donors to achieve their charitable goals. By providing a 24-hour online fundraising event, ETCF will give the public an opportunity to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local nonprofits – and make a difference to people’s lives here in East Texas.

“East Texas Giving Day is a great way for folks to support organizations that they already care about, as well as discover a few new favorites that are doing great work,” Penney said. “The organizations will have donation pages available for viewing at that tell their stories and offer an opportunity to make a contribution. Transactions will be securely processed through the Giving Day website.” Gifts made online are tax deductible, with donors receiving an immediate tax receipt via email at the conclusion of the donation process.

Nonprofits will have access to register online to participate in East Texas Giving Day beginning January 12, 2016. Once a nonprofit has submitted their registration, ETCF staff will review the nonprofit’s status and verify that they are in fact a 501(c)(3) public charity in good standing with the IRS. When the nonprofit is cleared to participate, they are encouraged to begin sharing the news with their current donors through social media outlets and other traditional means. Nonprofits have until March 31, 2016 to register to participate.
“The exciting factor that Giving Days across the country have in common is the number of new donors that engage through this kind of crowd funding event,” Penney said. “Nonprofits should see this event as another tool in their annual giving tool box.”

Nonprofits will also have the ability to secure their own matching funds for the 24-hour event. “It is very rewarding for a regular contributor of a nonprofit to see his or her gift have an impact,” said Penney. “What greater impact than for their gift to be an incentive for area residents to collectively match that gift with an online challenge.”

Participating nonprofits and donors can track donations pledged throughout the day by watching the constantly evolving leader board on the home page of the web site. Donations will be accepted online during the 24-hour event at All transactions processed on Giving Day will incur approximately 6% in fees based on the costs of the Giving Day platform and actual credit card fees. Nonprofits will receive funds approximately six to eight weeks after the conclusion of the event. If you would like more details on how to participate, call ETCF at 903-533-0208.

The U.S. Trust Study of the Philanthropic Conversation


The Philanthropic Conversation: Achieving a more meaningful conversation between donors and their advisors 






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Transfer of Wealth Study


East Texas Communities Foundation and the Rural Policy Research Institute conducted a study in 2012 which estimates the value and timing of wealth transfer across East Texas for the next 50 years. We would be glad to come share this information with you, your community leaders, and area non-profits to discuss the potential for establishing and growing endowments which will benefit your community in perpetuity. Please contact us at 903-533-0208 or to schedule a presentation of this valuable information. Click here to view the entire technical report produced by this study.


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