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The Power of One

Spring2Action 24-hour online fundraiser set for April 17

“What really struck our students was the fact that over 180 people gave.”

— Casa Chirilagua co-founder Dawnielle Miller

Dawnielle Miller wasn’t sure what to expect. As co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Casa Chirilagua, she was hoping to raise $15,000 during last year’s Spring2Action online giving day. She sent out emails and spread the word among supporters. And then she waited.

“We were overwhelmed by the response,” Miller said after the afterschool program raised more than $40,000 thanks to the response from donors. “What really struck our students was the fact that over 180 people gave. That many people care about us? That many people gave money for our Middle School program? We were able to answer back with an emphatic, ‘Yes.’”

Casa Chirilagua was last year’s winner in total dollars raised and because of Spring2ACTion, was able to start a new middle school program last fall.

On April 17, Casa Chirilagua will join 95 other Alexandria nonprofits in this year’s Spring2Action, a community initiative to raise money for local causes during a 24-hour online giving drive. Also known as Alexandria’s Giving Day, Spring2ACTion, hosted by ACT for Alexandria and ACTion Alexandria, focuses one day on supporting local organizations that provide critical services to tens of thousands of people throughout Alexandria.

“On Wednesday, April 17, 2013, our entire community will come together for 24 hours to raise funds to support nearly 100 local nonprofits that heal the sick, educate children and adults, feed the hungry, protect our environment, enrich our lives and so much more,” said John Porter, executive director of ACT for Alexandria.

Anyone interested in participating can join the effort on April 17 by visiting www.spring2action.org. A minimum donation of $10 will help nonprofits support local needs in the city. Since its inception in 2011, Spring2ACTion has helped Alexandria nonprofits raise more than $420,000, including $320,000 for 72 participating organizations in 2012.

“Spring2ACTion not only brings critically needed funds and identifies and engages new donors, it also raises the visibility of the individual nonprofits and their various programs,” said Linda Hafer, former executive director of The Art League, which won a prize for having the most unique donors — more than 600 — during last year’s day of giving.

This year, local nonprofits will compete for up to $30,000 in grants and prizes provided by ACT for Alexandria and the presenting sponsor, the Bruhn-Morris Family Foundation. Every donation made by supporters on April 17 on www.spring2action.org helps participating nonprofits qualify to earn bonus money for the organization.

The Art League, Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Community Lodgings, Alexandria Police Foundation, Carpenter’s Shelter, Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia, local PTAs, Hopkins House, Alexandria Seaport Foundation, Senior Services of Alexandria, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society, Alexandrians Involved Ecumenically (ALIVE!), Center for Alexandria’s Children, The Child & Family Network Centers, Friends of Guest House and The Reading Connection are just a few of the participating organizations.

Additionally, Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow restaurants in Del Ray will give proceeds from each sale to the charity of customer’s choice on April 17 (Holy Cow donates 25 cents from each burger sold to local nonprofits year round).

“The minimum donation is just $10 so anyone can participate,” Porter said. “There are 144,301 people in Alexandria. What if we all gave on one day? If everyone gave just $10 on April 17, we could accomplish miracles.”

To find a list of participating nonprofits or to schedule a donation for April 17, visit www.Spring2ACTion.org.

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Vincent Garcia, right, is a mentor with Casa Chirilagua. The nonprofit afterschool program raised more than $40,000 during last year’s Spring2Action online giving day.

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The Casa Chirilagua afterschool program is one of 96 nonprofits participating in the Spring2Action online giving day April 17.