Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Delco Gives Day brings fun while fundraising $1.7 million in its first community giving effort

The funds will benefit 300 area nonprofits to tackle hunger relief, day care, education, emergency services, and more.

The end of Delco Gives Day is celebrated at Rose Tree Park in Media with the announcement of the grand total raised — $1,580, 987. The Penncrest High School drum line is in front.
The end of Delco Gives Day is celebrated at Rose Tree Park in Media with the announcement of the grand total raised — $1,580, 987. The Penncrest High School drum line is in front.Read moreCharles Fox / Staff Photographer

How much can a community raise for its nonprofit organizations in 24 hours?

For Delaware County’s Delco Gives, it is more than ever expected.

When the Foundation for Delaware County ended its first community giving challenge on May 9 and tallied the funds, it found that in two days last week — May 8 and 9 — 9,482 people raised almost $1.7 million dollars, surpassing the Foundation’s initial goal by a million dollars. The event was a combination of online fundraising activities and a number of in-person celebrations held throughout the county. The grand total was revealed at the closing celebration in Media’s Rose Tree Park.

“We’re blown away by the generosity of the people who stepped up,” Katy Lichtenstein, the Foundation’s director of communications, said. “They came and they gave and they celebrated with Gritty and Phillie Phanatic.”

The work of nonprofits

Most of the 300 nonprofits that participated in the giving day serve the critical needs of the Delaware County community including hunger relief, day care, education, and emergency services.

For Erika Dawkins and Lashira Council, co-executive directors of the 8-year-old Chester Community Coalition, the money raised will provide their staff much needed emotional care as they do the heart-wrenching work of counseling victims of gun violence.

“Each participating nonprofit will receive bonus funding from the Foundation and business sponsors,” Lichtenstein said. Mitzvah Circle Foundation, which addresses clients’ essential needs around such things as clothing insecurity, diaper needs, and school supplies, won the top spot on the leaderboard by raising over $106,000.

Despite media attention to large corporation or foundation gifts, nonprofits survive off the generosity of individuals. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, individuals account for just over two-thirds of all charitable giving in the United States.

The rise of community giving days

Community giving days have become a major philanthropic success story. One of the nation’s largest community giving days, North Texas Giving Day, raised more than $63.9 million in 2023 for more than 3,200 nonprofits. The Sacramento Region Community Foundations raised $13.2 million during its 2024 Big Day of Giving with 27,000 donors making more than 58,000 gifts. At their last Colorado Gives Day in December 2023, the Colorado Gives Foundation raised $54.2 million.

“And locally, Lancaster raised more than $8M from 23,000 donors for their giving day,” said Lichtenstein.

Lichtenstein added that community giving days increase residents’ awareness of the local nonprofits in the community and unites the community for a cause. “People were very energized. That was one of our goals to bring the community together around something good,” Lichtenstein said.