Casey Weed (left), Asia Ciaravino (middle), and Corina Zars (right), walk through Main Plaza during the 2015 BigGiveSA. Photo by Scott Ball.
(From left) Casey Weed, Asia Ciaravino, and Corina Zars, walk through Main Plaza during The Big Give SA in 2015. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Boom. Around 10:50 p.m., the counter on The Big Give SA’s homepage ticked past its $4 million goal. Donations continue to be made and donations will be counted well after midnight, but organizers and nonprofits can rest easy tonight after a long day of fundraising.

Midnight Deadline in Sight, but The Big Give SA Ain’t Over Yet

If The Big Give SA is doing one thing for the nonprofit community as a whole, it’s bringing them together. As nonprofit leaders spoke about their organizations on this day of giving, one theme was present throughout – the mention of another nonprofit. The Big Give SA is raising millions of dollars – about $2,700,000 as of 4:30 p.m. – for more than 800 nonprofits, a feat that will further their impact and outreach, but the crowdfunding event is also celebrating the interconnectivity of these nonprofits and offering them a platform to get their name and purpose out to the people of San Antonio.

This year’s goal is to raise a total of $4 million – double last year’s amount. With a little more than seven hours left to go (at time of publication), that goal is squarely within reach but will require donations of all sizes to be successful. The minimum donation is $10 and there is no maximum. Click here to see a full list of participating nonprofits.

Gemini Ink is holding nine-hour poetry reading until 8 p.m. at their downtown office in hopes of garnering support for their nonprofit that caters to the creative writers of San Antonio. They provide writing workshops, public readings, book seminars, open-mic nights and an annual city-wide spoken word contest. Communications and Special Events Manager Ben Tremillo stood at the back of the reading, keeping track of the progression of poets and even letting some impromptu readings happen when time availed. He said Gemini Ink wanted to host an event this year since last year, not knowing what to expect, they just sent out a few emails, raising around $3,000 dollars. He said Gemini Ink had surpassed that amount by 1 p.m. on Tuesday. As of 4:30 p.m., they’ve raised $5,605 through 75 gifts.

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“Even more than the donations it’s nice to have a lot of people talking about us and being active on social media,” Tremillo said. “The Big Give gives us an opportunity to get our name out there when we normally wouldn’t.”

The Playhouse San Antonio was active during this year’s Big Give, scouring the streets of San Antonio to inform the public about their theater’s mission. The Playhouse CEO Asia Ciaravino led two other staff members through Geekdom, Main Plaza, and Market Square before heading to the Pearl Brewery and other hotspots in the city, handing out flyers and engaging community members in conversation. At times the conversation seemed a little awkward between community members and the Playhouse staff.

“I think the issue in San Antonio is that there are so few people who have ever even been in a theater, but what they don’t understand about art is that it impacts them on every level,” Ciaravino said. “Think about film, television and music. What they don’t understand is that it is actually alive, breathing art – especially theater.”

She said she often ends up educating people about the importance of theater while asking them for support.

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“We are actually building this plane as we fly it in terms of educating the public about how great the impact arts can be in their lives while building the program simultaneously,” she said.

While out on the streets, Ciaravino mentioned other nonprofits while conversing with community members about The Big Give, supporting them while supporting herself. It was a win-win situation. As of 4:30 p.m., they’ve raised $9,720 through 185 gifts.

“We as nonprofit organizations all rally together to celebrate one another and give support and exposure to each another,” she said. “It is more than money to me it’s about connectivity and building community.”

Another participating nonprofit, Any Baby Can, provides free support services to families who have children with special healthcare needs. On the day of The Big Give, they offered three hours of free hearing screenings. Marketing Manager Stephanie Jerger said many of the families that find the services at Any Baby Can useful are families with children who were born prematurely and need occupational or speech therapy, which could lead to the need for medical equipment such as hearing aids. As of 4:30 p.m., they’ve raised $14,544 through 203 gifts.

Marketing Manager of Any Baby Can, Stephanie Jerger poses for a photo during the 2015 BigGiveSA. Photo by Scott Ball.
Marketing Manager of Any Baby Can, Stephanie Jerger poses for a photo during The Big Give SA, 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

“A lot of the families that we see don’t have the means for insurance, so for us to provide that hearing screening is a large weight off of their shoulders,” Jerger said.

She said she was impressed by the vast number of community members coming together to support The Big Give.

“San Antonio is really a small community in a big city,” she said.

*Featured/top image: Casey Weed (left), Asia Ciaravino (middle), and Corina Zars (right), walk through Main Plaza during the 2015 BigGiveSA.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Joan Vinson

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....