USA TODAY NETWORK (USATN) is committed to serving local communities through exceptional journalism. But, our journalists not only cover local news, they live it as neighbors, friends and colleagues to those that they serve. To further engage those communities, the USATN launched A Community Thrives (ACT), a program that empowers communities to take local challenges head on. ACT provides a national platform for people to raise awareness of important community issues and solutions that address those challenges.
Through ACT, we award $600K in grants to local organizations and individuals to fund ideas that will positively impact their communities. But, we do more than just provide grant money. We make sure ideas get seen. We bring communities together. We get people to take action.Our goal is to not only award grant money, but to make sure all organizations have the chance to fund their ideas. To do this, we have partnered with CrowdRise by GoFundMe, a crowdfunding platform, and challenge organizations to compete for one of four special "Fan Favorite" grants which were awarded to the top fundraisers. Through this friendly competition, we are ensuring that all organizations can benefit from being part of the program, not just the handful that are selected for our regular grants.
The USA TODAY NETWORK (USATN) is uniquely positioned to encourage action in local communities because of our extensive digital reach. USATN reaches 123MM unique visitors each month across over 100 digital properties that span from coast to coast. This year, A Community Thrives (ACT) harnessed the power of the USATN to drive program participation with editorial support, PR activations and an advertising campaign that launched on our digital and social platforms.
To kick-start fundraising, each organization that submitted a community impact idea to ACT was provided a toolkit that included creative assets and tips for fundraising so that they could encourage their own networks and communities to donate to their ideas. ACT helped support fundraising on a national level by launching digital and social ads that drove to the program's overall fundraising page so that people could learn more about all the projects and donate to causes that they most connected with. A PR push also helped gain national attention by distributing a press release and publishing a blog post with information about the fundraising competition. Finally, the editorial team published content at a national level from USA TODAY and from our local media brands, highlighting the program and driving people to donate.Through these grassroots and national tactics, we drove engagement in the program and led to $945,245 raised for local organizations.
A Community Thrives (ACT) was extremely successful in bringing people together, giving local organizations and individuals a national voice, and positively impacting communities through funding.
Our digital campaign delivered +32MM impressions during its flight. Editorial teams produced 18 pieces of content and published nationally in USA TODAY and across local media brands to generate entries. Both tactics led to 521 submissions from organizations across 45 states with ideas for positively impacting local communities.
During the fundraising period, 227 organizations fundraised for their ideas. The average individual donation was $159 with organizations averaging about $4,617.50 for their ideas. In total $945,245 was raised for local projects, proving that when communities come together to take action, they can achieve amazing things. Through this fundraising efforts and the grants awarded, ACT was responsible for $1.5MM being raised for local communities.To reward organizations who fundraised the most, ACT provided four $25K grants to further help fund those ideas. One of these grants will be used in Denver to support single mothers living below the poverty line. Another will be used in Rochester to provide love and support to teens suffering from cancer. A grant awarded to a community in Tallahassee will provide independent living services to adults with disabilities. And, more funds will support a community in NJ to provide resources and learning opportunities to young children through storytelling and visual arts. ACT is proud to support such a wide range of organizations from 4 local communities through these "fan favorite" grants.
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