April 10, 2017
Nonprofit Notebook

CMHA clinches fundraising contest

Randy Fiveash, director, Connecticut Office of Tourism

New Britain-based Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA) clinched the championship title in the Brackets For Good Hartford online fundraising tournament, raising $46,094 from 185 donors.

Stanley Black & Decker, the competition's sponsor, provided the $10,000 championship purse to the winner. CMHA, with 12 locations in three cities in Connecticut, is a treatment provider that fosters recovery from mental illness and addiction.

All told, area nonprofits raised $206,348 over the five weeks of the inaugural Greater Hartford event.

In the national Brackets for Good tournament, Oklahoma-based Allied Arts won, edging out Shatterproof, which was founded in Norwalk. Overall, Allied Arts raised $356,912 and Shatterproof raised $210,532, ranking first and second among the 64 national nonprofits participating in the 2017 U.S.A. tournament, where $949,431 was raised.

In its first year in Greater Hartford, the Connecticut competition featured 60 participating nonprofits.

Combined, Hartford-area nonprofits raised more money than any of the six first-year cities conducting tournaments this year. In only three of the 11 cities — Indianapolis, Louisville and St. Louis — was more money raised for local nonprofit organizations than in Hartford.

Locally, runner-up Hartford City Mission raised $41,520, ranking second, from 268 donors. The Boys & Girls Club of Bristol Family Center ranked third, raising $24,620 from 162 contributors.

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The Connecticut Office of Tourism has launched a $75,000 co-op program that enables tourist attractions to apply for matching funds of up to $10,000 for marketing.

Randy Fiveash, director of tourism for the office, which is a division of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said that as few as seven and as many as 15 different small to mid-sized tourism attractions now have the opportunity to apply for the matching funds if they put between $5,000 and $10,000 of their own money toward marketing for the coming spring and summer tourist season. The funding support is something attraction owners have been asking for, Fiveash said.

Advertising must be either digital, including social media or banner ads, or on outdoor billboards, and attractions must provide attention-getting photography of the destination being marketed as well as a profile of the target audience.

The co-op program is designed for attractions that don't have big marketing programs of their own, Fiveash said.

For more information, attraction owners should contact Rosemary Bove in the tourism office at rosemary.bove@ct.gov.

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Legrand North America, based in West Hartford, recently raised $161,000 through fundraisers to benefit Building Homes for Heroes. The funds will be used to build new homes for wounded veterans, and to install appropriate home automation technologies to make their lives easier.

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