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Give Big Kern


April 25, 2020

Online crowdfunding event Give Big Kern presses on with 133 participating nonprofits looking to fundraise big on Cinco de Mayo Despite the social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Give Big Kern, “One Day to Celebrate the Giving Spirit of Kern County!” is happening as planned this Tuesday, May 5, with participation from 133 charitable organizations throughout Kern County, that are working hard to meet fundraising needs.

At a time when local charities are hurting financially from lost revenues due to the cancellation of event-based spring fundraisers and the scaling back of fee-for-service programs due to public health directives, the fundraising platform, because it is online, has become a safe, social-distancing-compliant rallying point for nonprofits to raise unrestricted dollars and volunteer hour pledges.

"During these turbulent times, Give Big Kern provides a perfect opportunity for us to come together and show appreciation and support for our nonprofit partners,” said Kristen Beall Watson, president and CEO of host agency Kern Community Foundation. “Without a doubt, local charities play a critical role in supporting our community and now, more than ever, they need our help."

Give Big Kern was launched in 2016 as a way to engage the entire community in giving to and connecting with nonprofits they feel passionate about. Since then, it has raised close to $1 million in unrestricted funding for hundreds of participating agencies. In 2019, Give Big Kern received a Beautiful Bakersfield Award from the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce for helping to create “A Better Bakersfield.”

While the official Give Big Kern Online Day of Giving is observed on the first Tuesday in May, May 5 this year, the Give Big Kern website went live to receive donations a month out, as it does every year. This year, it began receiving donations on April 5. It also stays open till one day after Give Big Kern Day, so donors will be able to continue giving till May 6.

According to research conducted by GiveGab, the company that designed and powers Give Big Kern along with some 200 other giving days across the country, while more than 70 percent of dollars raised through a giving day platform on average are received on the giving day itself, the other 30 percent come in before and after the giving day. Keeping a giving day campaign open longer, therefore, is a way to capture as many donations as possible from early-bird donors as well as procrastinators.

This Year’s Theme

“Long before we even had an inkling of where our community—and our world, for that matter—would be when this year’s Give Big Kern campaign season kicked off, we chose the theme, ‘Give Like It’s a Fiesta!’ because this year’s Give Big Kern Day falls festively on Cinco de Mayo,” said Louis Medina, director of Community Impact. “We decided not to change the theme despite the current crisis because we feel we can—and should—still have a ‘fiesta of giving’ in support of our hard-working local nonprofits. And we can have a fun, safe fiesta online, by sharing about our giving through on social media. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social distancing. We can use technology to come together virtually and rally around charities at a time when they need our community’s support the most!”

How does Give Big Kern work?

Monetary Donations

Giving through Giving Big Kern is easy: You simply go to the website, search for a nonprofit by name or cause, find your passion and give to that agency right on their page on the Give Big Kern site using the “Donate” button. You can pay with a major credit card, and—new this year to make the Give Big Kern platform even more mobile-friendly—through mobile pay options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or Microsoft Pay; and, if making a gift of $100 or more, through your bank account using Automated Clearing House (ACH).

You can also set yourself up as a “Fundraising Champion” for an agency using the “Fundraise” button on their page. This allows you to appeal to friends and family members via e-mail and social media to also give to that agency because you gave to it. Called “Peer-to-Peer Fundraising,” this is a best practice proven to multiply giving by more than three times for agencies that implement it, according to GiveGab.

Volunteer Hour Pledges

If you don’t have money to give now, use the “Volunteering” page on the drop-down menu of the website to make a pledge of volunteer hours to one of the participating nonprofits. They will contact you when public health directives allow volunteering opportunities at that agency to be reinstated.

Supporting Give Big Kern and local businesses at the same time

While some public events associated with Give Big Kern have been canceled to comply with social distancing/public health mandates, there are promotions that local retailers are holding, with a portion of the proceeds from sales of certain items benefiting local causes. This is a great way to help out local businesses that are giving back even as they struggle through the crisis, while also giving to nonprofits.


Kern Community Foundation will award competitive and opportunity drawing cash prizes, made possible through sponsors’ support, to top-performing nonprofits in fundraising, volunteer recruitment, board engagement and other categories. Also, for the first time this year, a $1,000 prize will be awarded to the top fundraising nonprofit in a rural community outside of greater Bakersfield. Prizes will be announced on May 6.

About Kern Community Foundation

Kern Community Foundation is a vibrant nonprofit enterprise with the powerfully simple mission of “Growing Community. Growing Philanthropy.” The Foundation is in business to serve as a charitable resource for local donors and corporations, and to generate capital that provides philanthropic solutions to help make Kern County a better place to live, to work and to visit. Since its establishment in 1999, the Foundation has grown to hold more than 170 charitable funds with assets surpassing $27 million, and has awarded close to $25 million in grants and scholarships, ranking in the top two-thirds of the 100 most active grant makers, nationwide, since 2013.


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