United Way and Partners Kick Off Inaugural 518 Day of Giving Fundraiser Under the Proctors Marquee

Brian Sano, Alicia Saurez, Brandi Landy, Carm Basile, Heather Hutchenson, Peter Gannon
L to R: Brian Sano, Alicia Saurez, Kristi Bowers, Brandi Landy, Carm Basile, Peter Gannon

144 community-based organizations are joining forces to raise over $518,000 for the local nonprofit sector on a single day of giving.  

Schenectady, NY  |  Friday, May 17, 2024 – United Way of the Greater Capital Region (UWGCR) was joined by local mascots and its nonprofit partners to officially kick off its Inaugural 518 Day of Giving Friday morning at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. Taking place May 17th and 18th, 518 Day of Giving is an unprecedented online fundraiser during which 145 organizations are joining forces to raise over $518,000 for nonprofits within the 518 area code. Since the early giving period began on May 4th, more than $61,000 has been raised.  

The fundraiser adds a new philanthropic element to UWGCR’s 518 Day, which has been held annually on May 18th since 2018. Traditionally, 518 Day brings together hundreds of volunteers at dozens of projects that support United Way’s nonprofit partners. This year, more than 900 volunteers signed up to help at 43 projects around the region on Friday afternoon. 

“Since 2018, United Way of the Greater Capital Region has grown 518 Day bigger and better each year motivating thousands of Capital Region residence to serve,” said Peter Gannon, UWGCR President & CEO. “As our sector grapples with increasing needs and diminishing resources. We thought it was the perfect time to once again inspire our community to give back with our first-ever 518 Day of Giving, where anyone can contribute to hundreds of Capital Region charities making a difference through volunteer service and financial contributions.” 

Organizations keep 100% of the money donated through their individual fundraising pages, which are listed on 518Day.org and remain active through May 20th. Users are able to search by name, location, and cause. The search function enables donors to discover and support local nonprofits that make an impact through a wide range of missions, including animal welfare, disability services, disaster relief and emergency response, education, health and wellness, homelessness and housing support, LGBTQ+ causes, immigration and refugee support, poverty and hunger, and racial equity.   

CREATE Community Studios, a Schenectady and Saratoga County-based nonprofit that provides art-based programming to underserved communities, became one of the first organizations to sign up for 518 Day of Giving earlier this year. In addition to taking part in the online fundraiser, CREATE is hosting a community service project on Friday afternoon, during which volunteers are helping to paint a large mural in the alley behind Proctors Theatre. 

“CREATE Community Studios is proud to participate in 518 Day for our second year,” said Heather Hutchison, the organization’s Executive Director. “This year, 518 Day is extra special to CREATE, as it overlaps with our annual art-making fundraiser CREATE-a-thon. By participating in 518 Day, we not only gain valuable volunteer skills and time but are able to introduce our agency to a wider audience, furthering our mission of helping community members feel safe and connected in their mental health journey by making essential therapeutic arts programs accessible to all.” 

For the third year in a row, MVP Health Care is proud to serve as the 518 Day Presenting Sponsor. In addition to providing financial support, dozens of MVP employees spend the day volunteering at projects throughout the community.  

“Creating healthier communities is the foundation of MVP Health Care’s mission, and what better way to create healthier communities than to support our local nonprofits,” said MVP Health Care’s Community Initiatives Manager and UWGCR Board Member Brandi Landy. “United Way’s 518 Day provides everyone in the region the opportunity to support our nonprofits and the important work they do to enhance our community. We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of this important community service day.” 

518 Day of Giving is modeled on similar fundraisers that have successfully raised millions of dollars for the nonprofit sector in other parts of the country. Earlier this month, United Way of Rhode Island and its partners raised more than $3.8 million for nearly 600 organizations during its annual 401 Gives event.  

To learn more, visit 518Day.org

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