Center Stage receives prize for online charity success

Center Stage Theatre in Shelton was one of grand prize winners in The Great Give charity donation drive by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and its affiliate, the Valley Community Foundation.

More than $900,000 was generated for many dozens of nonprofit organizations in greater New Haven and the Valley during the 36-hour online event on Oct. 2 and 3.

The giving event was the fourth of its kind organized by the two philanthropic entities through their website,

Center Stage Theatre won a $3,000 grand prize for being one of the organizations that received the most contributions. According to, Center Stage Theatre raised $30,428 from 264 donors during the drive.

Amount raised, number of donors increased

This year’s Great Give resulted in $755,645 in outside donations and an additional $150,000 in prizes and matching grants from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the Valley Community Foundation.

Sharon Closius, president of the Valley Community Foundation, said Valley donors tripled the amount they gave overall compared to 2012, resulting in more than $60,000 for nonprofits serving Shelton, Ansonia, Derby, Oxford and Seymour. The number of donors in the Valley also increased.

William W. Ginsberg, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, said the 2013 Great Give produced 6,768 gifts, of which 45% were made by donors who reported giving to an organization for the first time (compared to 38% in 2012).

Compared to 2012, there was a 125% increase in donations from individuals ($335,000 to $755,000) and a 67% increase in the number of gifts (from 4,059 to 6,768).

Foundations offered a match

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Valley Community Foundation provided matching funds ($125,000 and $26,500 respectively) that were awarded in tiered and random grant prizes as incentives to promote outside giving.

The highest prizes available were three grants of $15,000 each to the nonprofits that raised the most money, and attracted the greatest number of donors and the greatest number of new donors. These grand prize winners were Squash Haven, Music Haven, and Ball & Socket Arts.

Other grand prize winners were Neighborhood Music School ($5,000) and Center Stage Theatre ($3,000) for the next highest number of donors, and New Haven Ballet ($5,000) and Fair Haven Community Health Center ($3,000) for the next highest number of new donors.

Plans are already underway for The Great Give 2014, scheduled for May 6, 2014. The event will be held in conjunction with Give Local America, celebrating the 100th year of the birth of community foundations.