LORAIN, Ohio — On Thursday in Lorain County, there's an event dedicated to 12 hours of philanthropy.
The Community Foundation of Lorain County is hosting its second annual 'Connect To a Cause' event from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It's a crowdfunding campaign designed for residents and businesses to donate to a non-profit within the county - giving them a boost during these tough times.
The foundation launched the event last year in the midst of the pandemic when many organizations were unable to host their usual fundraiser campaigns.
“Every little bit dollar counts," said Cindy Andrews, the president and CEO of the Community Foundation.
Andrews said the event is about people engaging in something bigger than themselves.
“Here’s a chance, regardless of their situation in our community, to find an organization that they might be able to support and they too can join us," Andrews said.
This year 65 nonprofits from the county are taking part. The foundation set a goal for this year to raise $250,000 for the participating organizations, beating last year’s total of $148,000.
"There’s a $40,000 plus match that will then go back to those nonprofits, so if you have a cause that you have a passion about here’s a chance to contribute to that and let these match dollars then add to the impact to that organization," she said.
One of the participating nonprofits is the Lorain County Free Clinic, located on Oberlin Road in Lorain. The clinic is ran by Executive Director Paul Baumgartner. Patients are cared for by volunteer doctors, nurses and physicians.
"Patients have access to a variety of services, not only services but medications that they require," Baumgartner said. “If it were not for the medical volunteers stepping up from three hospital systems or practices, a lot of people would have no other place to go except the ER or prolong their conditions ultimately leading down the wrong path."
The 33-year-old clinic offers health care, prescription and other specialty services to underserved and low-income Lorain County residents — all for free.
In 2020, the clinic served more than 4,000 patients.
In that same year, the clinic received about $4,500 during the first 'Connect to a Cause' event. Baumgartner said the money was used towards their prescription drug vision programs.
“This year we’ll probably do something similar with that, but also we’re going to put a certain percentage of that into our endowment fund which also helps us in future sustainability and general operating," he said.
If you’d like to donate to one of the 65 organizations, click here.