By Linda Osmundson
Special to Live Local! magazine
Oh, no! Here comes that non-profit again with their hands out! Yes, we know, we non-profits are always going to businesses looking for money or prizes for our auctions.
Businesses can help non-profits by donating time or money and, in turn, the nonprofit can help the businesses, too. By volunteering, for example, you meet others who want to do business with you. You find new leads and new friends. The other way to help is to sponsor, organize or contribute to an event. Two local businesses recently coordinated a fundraiser for CASA and were rewarded with a great sense of accomplishment and recognition in the local media, too.
Non-profits are vital to our community’s economy. Our organization, for example, employs more than 70 professionals and draws in more than 380 volunteers. These are local residents who dine at your local restaurants and shop at your local boutiques. And as an organization, we source locally, from buying paper and copy machines from local vendors to hiring local contractors, auditors, janitors and other service providers.
More than half of our annual revenue comes from about 30 grants. But we must raise almost $2 million from the local community each year to cover other costs, including paying for food and transportation for victims of domestic violence and their children. Due to overwhelming need, we were forced to turn away 1,400 women, men and children last year. In response, we are now building a new 100-bed shelter, requiring us to raise an additional $12 million.
CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) has served Pinellas County residents for the past 37 years. In addition to offering shelter and support for survivors of domestic violence, we offer advocacy and hands-on help to prevent more violence, including providing training for local hospitals and police departments.
CASA also helped the Tampa Bay Rays and the City of St. Petersburg each write a domestic violence policy and procedures for their staffs. By working together, we can continue to provide vital community services, while also growing the economy and promoting your business! It was a win for us all!
Linda Osmundson is executive director of CASA. She can be reached at 727.895.4912 or through casa-stpete.org.
Live Local! is a publication of LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.