‘Tyler Gives’ raises $160,000 for charities in inaugural effort

United Way donates and matches funds to non-profits for giving Tuesday

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - This was the first year for “Tyler Gives,” an effort from multiple organizations being driven by United Way of Smith County.

Two dozen organizations will benefit from more than $160,000 raised this year. Non-profits tell us how that money will be used.

United Way of Smith County created the inaugural Tyler Gives, a collaborated effort with Giving Tuesday donations. It is a national movement that began in 2012 to support organizations.

United Way of Smith County hosted its Inaugural Tyler Gives, an initiative to raise funds and give back to local organizations in need. United Way provided a $50,000 matching grant to help East Texas non-profits.

“This is all about the non-profits here locally who are boots on the ground, helping people who are in need,” said John Berry, the development director of Smith County United Way. “And because of the funds raised yesterday, more and more people are going to get the help that they need. That’s what this is all about. It’s the generosity of this community.”

561 individual donors helped raised $168,166 that goes towards 24 different organizations. Participating non-profit Meals On Wheels helps serve food to families in need in six different East Texas counties.

“I think it’s been definitely a much bigger and better giving Tuesday but again it’s because we definitely needed it this year,” said Meals on Wheels Executive Director Trudy Williams. “I’m really pleased to see that so many people stepped up to the plate and gave.”

The East Texas Crisis Center has seen an increase in services this year due to the pandemic.

“What we’re trying to do right now is to set ourselves up so that, the beginning of 2021, there are the funds needed so we don’t have to cut any of our services,” said Director of Development Heather Stoner.

Due to the pandemic, some non-profits were not able to hold their annual fundraising events. The participating organizations say these donations are helpful in their time of need.

Berry said that within the first nine minutes of opening the website to allow donations, they met their $50,000 matching grant.

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