Willamette Week Raises Bundle of Dough for Local Non-Profits

For Immediate Release

Eyeballs popped at Portland’s newsweekly when the amount of money raised by its fundraising drive approached a quarter of a million dollars.

For the past three years, Willamette Week has run a program called “Give!Guide,” to support local non-profits and to encourage giving from readers 35 and under.

The effort kicks off the week before Thanksgiving with $4,000 checks to Portanders who (a) work full-time for local non-profits and (b) are 35-years-old or younger.

The Wednesday following the prize luncheon, WW published its Give!Guide, including profiles of the prize winners and information about 37 local charities. A Give!Guide website facilitates donations and everyone who gives at least the $10 minimum receives a packet of coupons and other goodies worth about $70. The paper’s management team makes home deliveries of coffee, wine and beer to local residents who give more than $250.

There’s also a lottery whereby four donors 35 and younger receive $500 apiece for participating. And Willamette Week gives matching grants to the organizations receiving the greatest number of gifts from people under the age of 36.

This year’s contributions of $240,000 outstrips last year’s effort, which reached $90,000.

“We never expected anything like this,” said Publisher Richard Meeker, whose business partner, editor Mark Zusman, started pushing for a year-end giving effort like this almost a decade ago.

“Obviously, this says a lot about our readers — and Portland.”