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Gift Cards for Good

Communities in Schools Executive Director Melissa Schultz, left, and FISH Executive Director Sherry Smith show a few the gift cards gathered for a nonprofit agency fundraiser called Gift Cards for Good. One lucky winner will receive a stash of hundreds of dollars of gift cards during a Facebook Live raffle at the Family Resource Center at 3 p.m. March 16.

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ELKO ― One of the positive outcomes of the Nevada Nonprofit Academy from the University of Utah Professional Education department brought to Elko by Newmont is the supportive relationships formed by local nonprofit leaders. The group, called Nonprofits for Excellence, includes personnel from Partners Allied for Community Excellence (PACE Coalition), Family Resource Center, Friends in Service Helping, The Terrace at Ruby View, Communities in Schools, and Ruby Mountain Resource Center.

The U of U certificate course took place throughout spring and summer of 2017 and included a series of full-day classes to promote nonprofit excellence.

Nancy Ostler, executive director of the Newmont Legacy Fund, brought the series to Elko to improve the skill sets of the people and processes in nonprofit management.

“The course was a wonderful opportunity for area nonprofit leaders who sought consultancy from nonprofit practitioners that provided leadership, management, research and custom support,” Ostler said. “It was also terrific to see many others from local nonprofits in the same room talking about their organization’s strategies and learning from one another.”

Ostler said it is exciting to see the graduates of the program put the principles they learned into practice.

“The group has already started to identify new collaborative opportunities, improved and developed new sustainability plans and have increased their effectiveness within the community,” Ostler said.

“At the final session of the U of U course we discussed continuing to meet so we could continue putting into practice what we learned in the course,” said Melissa Schultz, executive director of Communities in Schools. “We all agreed it would be a good idea to keep meeting and as result of our monthly meetings we learned that all of us were struggling with the time and effort required to raise funds.”

The idea of a shared fundraiser was discussed at length and the group decided on a project that included elements of excitement, easy to implement and require few hours of manpower.

Laura Oslund, executive director of PACE Coalition, said “I once helped with a fundraiser that raffled off a bunch of gift cards and it was a big hit with the crowd and when the group discussed this we all agreed it met our criteria for a shared fundraiser.”

Mike Magney of PACE Coalition created a list of suggested names for the fundraiser and the group chose “Gift Cards for Good.”

“The idea is for businesses or individuals to donate gift cards and we will put them all in a big jar and raffle them off to one lucky winner,” Magney said.

Gift cards are a popular present during the holidays but they aren’t always wanted by the recipient. The Research organization CEB TowerGroup estimates that $1 billion of the $130 billion spent on gift cards in 2016 went unused. It could be the recipient doesn’t like, or have access to, the restaurant or retailer to spend it.

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“Whatever the reason people don’t need or want the gift card,” says Rebecca Hepworth, executive director of Ruby Mountain Resource Center. “We thought donors would enjoy knowing the money raised from Gift Cards for Good would be helping so many people in our community.”

Each agency’s staff, board of directors, and volunteers are selling raffle tickets for the Gift Cards for Good drawing. Tickets are $10 each and the raffle is expected to contain at least $1,000 of gift cards or certificates.

The group is collecting all gift cards or transferrable gift certificates and on March 16 they will conduct a Facebook Live event for the drawing. The drawing will be held at 3 p.m. at the Family Resource Center, 331 Seventh St. in Elko. Everyone is welcome to attend the event but you do not need to be present to win. County Commissioner Delmo Andreozzi will be on hand to draw the lucky winner.

“We are asking everyone in the community to help us by donating their gift cards to this worthwhile cause,” says Sherry Smith, executive director of Friends in Service Helping. “The group will contact local businesses to ask for their help by donating a gift card or certificate.”

Char Gustafson, program coordinator at the Terrace at Ruby View, said, “The group has already collected more than $250 in gift cards including those from Smiths, Maverick, and McDonalds. Newmont is also donating some Chamber Checks.”

All gift cards can be dropped off at the Family Resource Center or you may call 753-7352 to arrange for them to be picked up.

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