Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Celebrate giving to charities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis through 'Give Big Kern'

Kern County is known for its generosity. And one way to express that generosity is through Give Big Kern, "One Day to Celebrate the Giving Spirit of Kern County!"

An online crowdfunding effort launched in 2016 by Kern Community Foundation (KCF), Give Big Kern is observed on the first Tuesday in May – May 5 this year. However, the online platform http://www.givebigkern.org began receiving donations for more than 130 participating nonprofits on April 5, and will remain open till May 6, to engage both early-bird donors and those we like to call our "lovable procrastinators."

Here's how Give Big Kern works: KCF, with the help of monetary and in-kind sponsors, offers the http://www.givebigkern.org platform FREE OF CHARGE to participating agencies and delivers training on online fundraising, social media marketing, board and donor engagement, volunteer recruitment and more. Each charity builds their own page on the Give Big Kern website and, with printed marketing materials and downloadable graphics (also free), they reach out to potential donors and volunteers for support. Donations received go directly to the nonprofits as unrestricted funds for them to use in meeting current needs.

Since its launch, Give Big Kern has helped raise close to $1 million for nonprofits throughout Kern County.

Being social-distancing-compliant because it is an online effort, Give Big Kern is the ideal fundraiser for local charities hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. And California's nonprofits' needs are big because the nonprofit sector is truly large, accounting for 7 percent of jobs in our state, according to the California Association of Nonprofits (www.CalNonprofits.org).

Many charities rely on event-based spring fundraisers that were canceled by necessary public health directives. Nonprofit revenue streams have also been decimated by the suspension of fee-for-service programs that cannot be offered remotely.

Leaders of volunteer-run agencies may be facing financial hardships due to temporary or permanent loss of their day jobs-and when considering that 70 percent of our state's charities are all-volunteer-run, per http://www.CalNonprofits.org, the impact of the crisis on the nonprofit sector becomes cruelly evident.

Arts & culture and sports nonprofits that rely on attendance fees to public events and spaces like concerts, plays, museums and stadiums that are temporarily closed, are really strained financially now.

We encourage all community members to consider giving to local charities through Give Big Kern. Participating nonprofits with headquarters or branches in the Tehachapi Mountain Area include:

• Cornerstone Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

• Guardians Around the Earth

• Have A Heart Humane Society

• Heritage Oak School

• Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue

• Rising Star Riders

• Women's Center High Desert

Please visit http://www.givebigkern.org, look for a nonprofit by name of cause, find your passion and give!

If you prefer to give back by volunteering, open the drop-down menu on the upper right-hand corner of the Give Big Kern website, click on "Volunteering" and fill out an online form to pledge volunteer hours over the next 12-month period to any of the participating nonprofits. You will be contacted by that nonprofit after shelter-in-place orders have been lifted so you can help-and local charities are going to need a lot of volunteer muscle to get back up and running!

Louis Medina is the Director of Community Impact for Kern Community Foundation. He may be reached at [email protected].