Karen Holt

Karen Holt, executive director of East Texas CASA, says East Texas Giving Day plays “a significant role in our organization. Without the community, we would not be able to succeed.”

More than 30 nonprofit organizations in Gregg County are participating in the online East Texas Giving Day fundraiser, which is set Tuesday, April 27.

“East Texas Giving Day does play a significant role in our organization,” said East Texas CASA Executive Director Karen Holt. “Without the community, we would not be able to succeed.”

The goal of the fundraising event — which is taking advance donations at www.EastTexasGivingDay.org — is to bring the region together on a single day and as one community to raise funds and awareness for East Texas nonprofit groups. The fundraiser provides the public an opportunity to donate financially and pledge volunteer hours to a variety of nonprofit organization through one online platform.

East Texas Communities Foundation hosts East Texas Giving Day each year, serving 32 counties in the region.

In 2020, East Texas Giving Day earned $2.2 million in donations.

This year, donors have an option to create a fundraising page to benefit their favorite nonprofit organizations called FUNdraising. The deadline to create a Peer FUNdraising page on the website is Monday.

“With East Texas Giving Day, it’s not only about the funds you get, but it highlights the needs in the community,” Holt said. “Giving day is one day, but we take donations every day through our website. Not only do we have volunteer opportunities, but there are many opportunities to support CASA.”

When a child is removed from his or her home to be placed in foster care, a judge will appoint a guardian ad litem or a court-appointed special advocate.

“What the volunteer does is really provide the support and resources to that child while they are in the foster care system,” Holt said.

East Texas CASA relies on volunteers and on donations.

“It costs about $1,500 to provide a (court-appointed special advocate) to a child each year,” Holt said. “We serve about 500 children each year.”

East Texas Giving Day helps provide about 10 percent of East Texas CASA’s budget.

Family Promise of Longview Executive Director Doris Ramaly said she is looking forward to East Texas Giving Day.

“It’s very important because we are raising money to help families with homelessness,” she said. “It’s important to support all the nonprofits.”

The organization works with local churches and volunteers to provide shelter, meals, training and more to help families find employment, become stable in a permanent home and regain financial independence.

Ramaly said the past year has been difficult on families and difficult to raise funds because of the absence of in person fundraising events.

Family Promise of Longview will host an event as part of an East Texas Giving Day on Tuesday. The group will gather from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Longview Mall with food trucks, raffles and more.

“We’re very excited,” Ramaly said. “We’re looking forward to being out in the sunshine.”

Through the event in person and online, Family Promise is trying to raise $15,000 to help 15 families with rent and utilities.

“It’s what would help keep them from going homeless,” Ramaly said.

The Arc of Gregg County is in need of donations to assist with day-to-day expenses. The organization advocates for people with an intellectual or developmental disability through education, community awareness and programs.

“Our annual fundraiser was also postponed last year, which has limited our funds tremendously,” The Arc said in a post on the giving day website, noting its critical need.

The East Texas Oil Museum, the Texas Shakespeare Festival, Asbury House Child Enrichment Center, Buckner Children and Family Services, Community Healthcore, East Texas Alzheimer’s Alliance, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, Longview Symphony, One Love World and more also are listed as taking part in East Texas Giving Day.

For information and to donate, visit www.EastTexasGivingDay.org.

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