Eight years ago Dianne Daley Laursen was trying to think of a meaningful way to give back to the community over the holidays, something besides the usual fundraising dinner where people get together to eat.
Her friend Renee Hill suggested a market where people could give to local nonprofits.
“The first one we did off my dining room table,” Daley Laursen said about the inaugural Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse, which highlighted eight local organizations.
The first year they spent $10 and raised $5,000. Last year the market spent $400 and raised $32,000. Overall it has raised more than $126,000.
“It really has become a part of the fabric of our community,” Daley Laursen said.
This year 32 nonprofits will offer 160 gifts in the form of donations that help them provide services year round. People can visit representatives from all of this year’s groups from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the 1912 Center in Moscow. Donors can give online anytime through Dec. 10 at agmpalouse.org.
Donations start at $5 and the giver receives a card designed by Moscow schoolchildren detailing what the money will go to. For example, $5 at the fair could buy a new toy through Christmas for Kids, treats for animals through the Palouse Humane Society, or grow a row of carrots through Backyard Harvest. There’s also an option to spread a donation out to all of this year’s organizations.
Seventy-five percent of donations made are $10 and under, Daley Laursen said.
“Anybody can make a difference in our community. It really is the power of the people coming together.”
One reason the Palouse has great quality of life is because of the number of homegrown organizations that give back to the community, Daley Laursen said. The market makes it easy for the community to connect with them.
“A lot of people come to learn where they can volunteer and learn about their community.”
The annual Palouse market is run by Daley Laursen, Hill, Mary Silvernail Shook and Dan Noble, all of Moscow, and dozens of volunteers. All proceeds go back to the groups. Since its inception the market has grown to include Kids Give!, where volunteers visit area fourth-graders to teach them about philanthropy.
“My favorite quote came a couple years ago from a fourth-grader who said, ‘I know now how to put my empathy into action.’”
The idea has spread to Lewiston. Now in its second year, the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History will hold an Alternative Giving Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10. Nonprofit groups interested in participating can contact the center’s business office at (208) 792-2243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You Go
What: Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse
When: 4-8 p.m. today
Where: 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St., Moscow
— Market representatives will also be at the Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and the Palouse Mall from noon to 5 p.m. Monday. People can give online anytime through Dec. 10 at agmpalouse.org.
— The Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History will hold an Alternative Giving Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 in Lewiston.