Amanda Merz May 31, 2017 at 9:35 AM

Thoughts about BDoG: Big giving at warp speed

On May 4, 2017, Sacramento responded to the midnight call to begin making pledges for the fourth annual Big Day of Giving (BDOG). BDOG is a 24-hour online giving challenge that brings together the region’s nonprofit community to help raise funds and shine a spotlight on the work nonprofits do for the Greater Sacramento community. Once the online fundraiser’s website went live, the generosity of the region was obvious when nearly $7.2 million was raised for more than 600 nonprofits in just 24 hours!

SAFE Credit Union has had a culture of giving since its founding in 1940, and each year SAFE continues to donate time and money to many nonprofits in the region. This year was no exception and SAFE saw an opportunity to not only donate but help encourage others to donate to the same cause.

So, on the morning of May 4, in a frenzy of giving, I had the awesome responsibility to present several local nonprofits with a donation from SAFE. As part of our mission of giving back to the community, SAFE focuses on certain organizations within our Three Pillars of Giving: education, healthcare, and military service - both active and inactive. With my social media sidekick from our marketing team by my side, a big check in the right hand and the real check in the left, we took off to put our Three Pillars of Giving plan into action.

Natomas Arts and Education Foundation

After a rather large cup of coffee, my day began at 8 a.m. with the presentation of a donation to the Natomas Arts and Education Foundation. This organization promotes the arts in Natomas and surrounding areas and supports a variety of local public education needs for grades K-12. On the Big Day of Giving, the organization had a table at the Claire Raley Studio for the Performing Arts, known as CLARA, with other nonprofits and media coverage on site. SAFE was proud to present the group with a $500 check that could be used as a matching offering through social media. We quickly took a picture and video with the organization and posted them to social media to help facilitate the match, which was achieved!

The First Tee of Greater Sacramento

We quickly jumped back in the car and drove directly to our next stop, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, to present them with our largest donation of the day: $10,000! The First Tee of Greater Sacramento is a nonprofit that provides educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promotes healthy choices through the game of golf. This organization clearly meets our focus on education and we were honored to be able to enhance the group’s programs for the coming year through our donation. The best part is that once again a matching opportunity was offered and by the end of the day, First Tee had raised over $86,000 to fund their initiatives!

First-Tee-BDOG2017-1.jpgRepresentatives from The First Tee receive $10,000 donation from SAFE

Junior League of Sacramento

Time to get back in the car and rush (within the speed limit, of course) to our next destination: Junior League of Sacramento (JLS). Located downtown, JLS has been part of the Sacramento community for almost 75 years. As one of the oldest nonprofits in our region, the group strategically prioritizes its mission to meet community needs. JLS currently focuses on empowering girls, and our $500 contribution will help their fundraising efforts to host a conference for girls in the region.

Three down, two to go, but not before we squeezed in a quick lunch downtown!

American Heart Association

At our next stop, we visited the American Heart Association’s (AHA) O Street offices.  Since healthy employees are another important part of our mission at SAFE, and having just been named one of 2017’s healthiest employers, SAFE has been utilizing the AHA’s Move More program to motivate our employees to live heart healthy lives. So you can imagine how happy our hearts were when we were able to present the AHA with a check for $3,771.

Stand Down of Sacramento County

Our final destination of the day was the McClellan conference center where we met with Stand Down of Sacramento County. The group is committed to raising funds to support homeless veterans in the Greater Sacramento area. SAFE was gratified to be able to present the group with a check for $2,500. We are proud to support an organization that honors our deserving veterans who, through Stand Down, will receive necessary medical and administrative services.  This donation was also timely because that same weekend SAFE was sponsoring the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team in a game at Raley Field.

Legacy of Giving

Whew! Our assignment for Big Day of Giving 2017 was complete. Within five hours SAFE was able to donate nearly $20,000 to area nonprofits that enrich thousands of lives in our community on a daily basis. And even though BDOG is an incredible community outpouring of local support, SAFE is no stranger to the credit union philosophy of giving locally. With more than $300,000 contributed in 2016 to local organizations and programs, and more than 9,800 hours volunteered by SAFE employees to community causes,  I’m proud to have been able to represent SAFE and our members in continuing the tradition of giving back to the communities we serve.

All in all, it was a great day.



Amanda Merz

Amanda is the Community Impact Manager for SAFE and is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s mission to give back is fully realized.