Nonprofits gather for Gifts That Make a Difference


By Sue Cody

As the year rolls to a close, people look for local nonprofits they might like to support. With so many giving opportunities, it can be hard to find the best fit. That’s why Gifts That Make a Difference was created.

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In one place, people can select from among wishing tree programs, libraries, wildlife, food pantries, scholarship programs, parks and much more. The concept of Gifts That Make a Difference is to offer opportunities for people to share their time, talent and treasures, says Jennifer Holen, executive director of United Way of Clatsop County. 

“Nonprofits drive our community,” Holen says. “This event fits our model of improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of Clatsop County and the overall mission of United Way, which is to give, advocate and volunteer.”

Many people found their ideal ways to participate when 30 nonprofit organizations gathered at the MacTavish Room at the Liberty Theatre on Dec. 9. The nonprofits discuss their missions with potential donors and volunteers and share some holiday cheer Teenage volunteers welcomed guests, live music performed by Luke Ydstie, Kati Claborn and Larkin Stentz, filled the air.

Gifts that make a difference Linda Moreland



 “It’s an efficient and easy way to donate,” Holen says. This year, Astoria Women Executives formed a Thrivent Action Team to partner with United Way of Clatsop County (UWCC) to host the event. Thrivent supplied seed money to buy ingredients for cookies and advertising. Volunteers worked in the kitchen, providing soup for the presenters.

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“This event is a conduit to those family-friendly volunteer opportunities,” Holen says. Here, we bring them all together to provide positive meaningful connections to help improve lives.” 

The U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officers Association had a booth at Gifts That Make a Difference. It raises funds to help foster kids and supports youth sports. The Astoria Parks and Recreation offers scholarships from its Run on the River. Clatsop County Cultural Coalition encouraged people to give to one of the 1,400 supported nonprofits and an equal amount to the Oregon Cultural Trust, to receive an Oregon Tax Credit. 

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“It’s a great partnership,” says Holen of working with Thrivent and the nonprofits. “Many hands make light work. We’re all in this together.”