NASHVILLE – A record number of area nonprofits are involved in the fourth annual Big Payback on Wednesday.
A total of 781 Middle Tennessee nonprofits, churches and schools are participating in the 24-hour online giving challenge, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
The total includes 112 organizations from 14 counties that are participating in the Big Payback for the first time. Issue impact areas include human services, education, animals, community improvement, youth development, health, housing and shelter, arts and culture and the environment.
In Wilson County, there are 28 organizations participating. (Click on an organization to make a donation through the Big Payback.) The list includes:
The Community Foundation of Wilson County, in cooperation with its parent organization, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, will hold a special event May 3 in Wilson County.
"This will be a very special day for nonprofits locally and across Middle Tennessee," according to Jenni Moscardelli, grants chairman for the Community Foundation of Wilson County.
According to Moscardelli, the Big Payback occurs one day of the year and is devoted entirely by the Community Foundation to making financial contributions to local and area nonprofits.
But, she said, "the day here will take on a very festive and celebratory atmosphere as participants and celebrity guests gather on Lebanon's Public Square to mark the occasion with a two hour "party-like event" billed by organizers as the Rally for The Big Payback.
Moscardelli said May 3 at 11 a.m. at the southeast quadrant of the Lebanon Public Square near the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce office, "the party will begin."
Plans for the event call for food trucks, live radio broadcasts, music, display of posters from a nonprofit contest, prizes, free give-a-ways, team mascots and more.
On hand will be a number of celebrity guests, including community mayors, other elected officials and some surprise guests.
In 2016, 11,270 gifts went a big way to “pay back” 770 participating nonprofits, raising more than $2.61 million.
The Big Payback is a community-wide online giving day designed to give the public the opportunity to pay back the nonprofits. Starting May 3 at midnight, donors have 24 hours to make donations to 781 participating local nonprofits – including schools and religious institutions – at thebigpayback.org.
This year, with new software and added features secured, the Big Payback has it sights set on what is hoped to be its largest day of giving yet. In the first three events, event helped nonprofits raise more than $6.5 million for area nonprofits, with funds making possible awareness of and solutions to pressing needs in our community.
“The Big Payback’s slogan is ‘Live Here, Give Here’ and provides an easy and fun way for our community to show our local pride and give back,” said Ellen Lehman, president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
“Nonprofits do life-changing work every day across Middle Tennessee, and it’s important we recognize the positive impact they have in our own backyards by supporting their efforts. It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without them and their work.”
Gifts from the public will be boosted with additional funds from sponsors of the Big Payback. Nonprofits once again will have the opportunity to vie for financial incentives, donations and additional prizes. An online leaderboard will track donations in real time.
Donors will be able to view and select from participating organizations based on location and focus area, and they can support multiple organizations and make gifts of any size, from $10 and higher.
Nonprofits and the general public also can participate in the Big Payback in person. Thanks to the Nashville Predators, the Smashville Plaza in front of Bridgestone Arena will turn into The Big Payback Game Day Throwdown on May 3 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
With an atmosphere reminiscent of ESPN’s College GameDay football preview show each fall, the Big Payback’s Game Day Throwdown gives participating nonprofits and their supporters the chance to rally and win big cash prizes.
Activities will include a most festive poster contest, media opportunities — including a Radio Row that composed of some of the area’s most popular stations and deejays — as well as games, food trucks and live music from popular local acts Matt Walberg and the Living Situation and Halfbrass.
John Gromos, former Vanderbilt University star quarterback and broadcast analyst, will return to emcee the event.
“The Big Payback makes it easy for anyone to be a philanthropist,” Lehman said, “and we encourage everyone to take a few minutes and give to causes near and dear to their heart.”
There was no cost for nonprofits to participate in the Big Payback. The past three years, donors supporting the annual giving day have ensured no participating organization walked away empty handed.
The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether or not they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit cfmt.org.