FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – There were only winners in Friday’s first Fairfield County Giving Day. The biggest one was Curtain Call of Stamford.
The online fundraising day was organized by the Fairfield County Community Foundation. In all, the day raised $745,729.64 for more than 250 local nonprofits through online donations.
Curtain Call, a nonprofit theater group in Stamford, received 1,890 donations totaling $30,675. It also won a $25,000 prize for the most individual donations received, and some smaller prizes throughout the day. The organization raised $58,175 in one day.
“Overwhelmed,’’ Curtain Call director Lou Ursone said about the day’s monetary haul. “That’s the first word that comes to mind. We have an active, loyal fan base. We’ve won a few of these popularity contests, including one with The Daily Voice. But this was different because people had to put money where their mouth was. I really had no idea what to expect. It was astounding.”
Ridgefield Chorale finished second with $19,030 raised from 1,655 donors. It also won a $20,000 bonus prize. Domus Kids of Stamford finished third, followed by Wildlife in Crisis of Weston and FSW of Bridgeport. The complete totals are online.
Perhaps the most important number, according to Fairfield County Community Foundation President and CEO Juanita James, was the 15,423 people who made donations to the nonprofits.
“It was a great day,’’ James said. “There were 258 organizations that got some contributions. What took us by surprise is the volume of some of the individual donations.”
Organizations that worked before the event to drum up interest for their causes seemed to be the most successful in terms of fundraising, she said. “They were able to create excitement and engage their community,’’ James said. “They did a phenomenal job.”
Technical problems prevented some people from making donations, especially at the height of the day, James said. “At the peak when we were hoping we’d have a lot people come in, the site was crashing,’’ she said. “It created a lot of frustration. A big thank you to those who cared enough to persist to come back later in the day and donate.”
Despite the technical glitches, Ursone and James thought it went well for a first-time event.
“I expected it to be a hugely successful day,’’ Ursone said. “Arts engage people in a moving, meaningful way. I think that was shown with the results. Our patrons are engaged with us and believe in what we do and believe in the arts. I’m really looking forward to next year.”
Along with the Fairfield County Community Foundation and Bank of America, Fairfield County Giving Day was supported by Hynes, Himmelreich, Glennon & Company; The TNS Group; Tauck; Cummings & Lockwood Foundation; Day Pitney; Neuberger Berman; Purdue Pharma; Moffly Media; TFI Envision; Hearst Media Services; Hersam Acorn and First County Bank.