After nine months of planning, countless cups of coffee, many moments of worrying about crashing websites, 46 nonprofit parties and $2,017,441 and 21,909 donations later, on behalf of the Big Give SA planning team, I just want to say thank you for your heart and generosity, San Antonio.

As coordinating consultant for the Big Give SA, I had a great view of the community coming together to double its expectations. When I first wrote about the Big Give SA for the Rivard Report back in January, we were hoping to have 300 participating agencies and raise $1 million. But in typical San Antonio fashion you kicked those numbers to the curb and said we can do more. So much more, in fact, that we stormed past that goal by 11 a.m. and partied our way until midnight to more than $2 million going to 467 different Bexar County nonprofits.

SAMMinistries raised $41,448 during the Big Give SA 2014. Photo courtesy of SAMMinistries’ Facebook page.

In just 24 hours, behind the sheer excitement and compassion of everyone who participated, you provided more than $2 million of collective impact to our great city. This is money that will go to feed those in need, educate our youth, protect our animals, clean up our streets and river, tend to parks, promote the arts, support our troops, and continue to show the nation that San Antonio truly is the city on the rise.

See a full list of participating nonprofits and amounts raised by visiting

Every dollar truly does matter and while in the past the impact might not have felt as palpable, within the new realm of giving days and crowd funding, thousands of small scale gifts are finally getting their 15 minutes in the spotlight and they are here to stay.

Seriously, look at what you just did:

  • You gave $75 dollars on average to the charities you love.
  • You gave from each zipcode in  Bexar County.
  • You gave from Colorado, New York, San Francisco and many other places..
  • You gave from Australia and Germany, Mexico and Chile.
  • You joined us for parties and woke up at 4 a.m. to help nonprofits win prizes.
Bihl Haus Arts raised $3,000 during the Big Give SA. Courtesy photo via Instagram.

Austin’s first Big Give (Amplify Austin) raised $2.8 million in 2013, but we surpassed their number of first-year unique donors, 20,467, by 793 for a total of 21,260 unique donors for Big Give SA.

By participating in the Big Give SA this year, you also joined the first ever Give Local America campaign. In total, the Give Local campaign raised more than $50 million dollars in 24 hours in nearly 70 cities across the country and San Antonio accounted for just under 10 percent of the total donations made.

And thank you to local media and businesses. You guys stepped it up and supported this effort in an unprecedented way and were absolutely the driving force behind this success. Thanks to your generosity, we received around $250,000 dollars in prize money and in-kind sponsorships and advertisements.

San Antonio has traditionally been a city where the term philanthropist has been used to describe only a handful of wealthy donors and individuals.

Yesterday, all of that changed. You proved that large scale impact is not something that can only be achieved by millionaires and billionaires.

You showed that everyone is a philanthropist when you democratize giving. In short, you changed lives, impacted futures, and showed everyone around you the kind of future you want for our great city.

The Big Give SA talking point is that we’re #strongertogether.

Yesterday, you proved it.

Guide Dogs of Texas raised $13, 841 during the Big Give SA. Photo from the Big Give SA’s Instagram.

*Featured/top image: Haven for Hope volunteers pose for a Big Give SA photo on Instagram. Courtesy photo.


The Big Give SA: Crowdsourcing Philanthropy For You and Me

The Big Give SA: There Are No Small Gifts

#strongertogether: The ‘Big Give’ for San Antonio Nonprofits

The Jazz Tutor: KRTU San Antonio’s Fund Drive Celebrates Listeners, Jazz Culture

Chefs For Chefs: A Brunch to Help Those in Need 

John Burnam is the co-founder and principal of Burnam | Gray, a nonprofit consulting firm that seeks to help agencies ignite and scale best practices.

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