GREENWICH, Conn. Despite economic uncertainty and widespread purse tightening, Oprahs Big Give Winner and Greenwich resident Stephen Paletta s charity GiveBack enabled members to donate to 754 charities worldwide. And nine of those charities are in Greenwich.
I think that everyones hurting at this point, and theres no two ways about it that everyones nervous. But theres an acute awareness that as much as were hurting, there are other people hurting worse, said Paletta, winner of Oprahs reality show about charitable giving. He started GiveBack.org in November as a way to celebrate everyday philanthropy. GiveBack helps people increase their giving through cash-back rewards from online shopping.
GiveBacks mission is to help people give more to the causes important to them, including neighborhood nonprofits, global relief efforts, summer camps for special needs children, veterans organizations, medical research and houses of worship. During the charitys campaign, 100 Days of Giving, members donated more than $330,000 in 100 days.
I think we all, especially in these tense economic times, have a knee-jerk [reaction] that we dont have money to give away. But were seeing people really benefit from being able to give whatever amount of money away that they can, said Paletta.
During the campaign, more than 4,300 shopping transactions occurred, generating thousands of dollars for future giving to charities. The site sets up a foundation account online for each member in which to earn as well as save money.
It almost becomes more meaningful when people give back, because they realize that even though personal resources are not as great, we come together in small amounts that make a big difference, he said.
Greenwich charities that benefitted include Kids in Crisis, International Education Exchange, Trinity Church, Greenwich Boys & Girls Club, Friends of Ednas Maternity Hospital, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Stanwich Congregational Church, Greenwich Leadership Forum and Ubunta Africa.
The campaign awarded nearly $500,000 to people to give to charity. It featured two major prizes for individuals and charities who amassed points by signing up members to Give Back.org. Chris McCoy of Glendale, Ariz., won $50,000. GivingCircle Fund, a nonprofit organization in Chinatown, N.Y., received $10,000.
McCoy is using part of his winnings to acquire a service dog for the autistic son of his chief contender, with a donation to 4 Paws for Ability. Were hoping to give more people money to give and hear about incredible stories around the country and around the world, said Paletta. "Chris is a perfect example of that happening."
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