Year-end “Gives Back-palooza” Kept Us Busy

If you see someone who works for a nonprofit during the last week of the year, get out of their way! I think they’re legally allowed to run red lights that week. Why? The end of the year to a nonprofit is like what the holidays are to retailers, and tax season is to accountants. It culminates with the last day of the year, which is traditionally the biggest day for giving, especially online giving (our clients set records, so we can testify to it.)  Yes, the cynic in me says it’s inspired by tax write-offs, but as my mother would say “big whup?” Besides, the optimist in me says “I love the holidays, and it feels better to give then to receive so here you go ‘Nonprofit I Love’.” So let’s go with that!

We here at SofterWare did our part to help give back during this busy season in what I can only describe as a GivesBack-palooza!

Employees Donation & Volunteer Programs
First, 2015 ended with SofterWare employee donations equaling $5,000 that were matched by the company, and our 2016 goal is to increase that by 25%. Also, 22 employees volunteered 165 hours, and our goal is to have 45 employees volunteer 325 hours in 2016, so book us now for your next event (we work cheap.)

Holiday Gifts for Families in Need
With the holidays, comes presents, presents, presents! We figured if we were getting up at 4 am Black Friday for our kid’s Cabbage Patch dolls (I think I just dated myself), we might as well buy some presents for others who are having a tough time this year. All year long, we’ve volunteered at the Ambler YCMA, and they told us about 4 families with financial troubles. With no money for gifts, the folks at SofterWare bought 33 presents for the parents to give to their kids to help make it a joyous holiday season.

Breakfast with Santa
Speaking of the YMCA, on December 19, the SofterWare elves left their workshop to help with the “Breakfast with Santa” event.

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Thanks to elves Mike Scott, Eleanor Stasio and Joshua Gardner (they were all ears), Kathy Piunti, Terri Webb and her daughter.

Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program
The program that was the impetus for us to start our GivesBack program: Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) provides us the ability to sends some of our state taxes to a Scholarship Organization, an Educational Improvement Organization, and/or a Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Organization.  We donated $129,000 to nine organizations that met these requirements, including many clients and organizations that were nominated by our staff.

The year ended with two different drives:

Yearlong Food Drive
First, was our food drive for Loaves & Fishes food pantry, which was started Thanksgiving 2014 by Eleanor Stasio, Kathy Piunti, and Joshua Gardner.  It was expanded to a yearlong commitment for the simple reason that people need help all year long. The folks of SofterWare were asked to contribute non-perishable food and other items, and they responded with 1,575 pounds! While it’s somewhat embarrassing to admit my love of Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs (I must be the only person out of college who still eats it on regular basis), I’m proud to say for each can I devoured, I gave one to the food drive.  Our goal for 2016 is 2,000 pounds (dare I add Chef B’s raviolis to the mix?)

Laurie Wernick and Paula Burns drop off the last boxes of food for 2015.

Laurie Wernick and Paula Burns drop off the last boxes of food for 2015.

MLK Clothing Drive
Last, but not least, we cleaned out our closets of all those clothes we couldn’t fit into anymore (darn you holiday cookies!) to donate them to the Impact Regional Collection Drive for their Martin Luther King Day of Service. We donated 10 boxes of clothes!

Boxes and boxes of clothes about to make an "Impact" on the community.

Boxes and boxes of clothes about to make an “Impact” on the community.

This was a big finish to the first full year of the SofterWare Gives Back program; our attempt to assist and recognize all the great work our staff was doing anyway – giving back to the community. It was our great privilege and honor to be able to assist. From what I heard is in the works this year, it’s only going to get bigger!   Stay tuned…

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