Nonprofit representatives pose for a picture during a Long Beach Gives working session. Courtesy of Long Beach Gives.

This year’s Long Beach Gives fundraising event garnered over $1.96 million for over 230 local nonprofits with the support of 8,550 donations, a bit shy of its $2.2 million goal.

But Matt Guardabascio, Long Beach Gives’ campaign manager, knew the organization had set a lofty target given the current state of the economy.

“We were hoping to (raise) 2.2 on 9/22/22,” Guardabascio said. “But the reality is there’s a ton of uncertainty right now.”

Giving days across the country have seen drastic decreases in both the numbers of donations and dollars raised due to the state of the economy and the “post-Covid giving landscape,” Guardabascio said.

“So we’re looking at this as a pretty unequivocal win for the city and for the sector,” Guardabascio said.

Two nonprofits raised over $100,000: The Assistance League of Long Beach and BOSS (Business of Student Success). Rising Tide, meanwhile, raised over $90,000.

To have three organizations raise that much money was a first for Long Beach Gives, Guardabascio said.

“It was really incredible to see,” Guardabascio said. “That is a ton of hard work and effort and energy and relationship building that goes into that kind of a campaign.”

For many participating nonprofits, funds raised during the events can support operational costs, increase staffing or increase the scope of services offered, Guardabascio said.

“The biggest success is really just growing partnerships and growing awareness for what nonprofits are doing,” Guardabascio said.

Part of that increased awareness came from the city of Long Beach itself: For the first time, City Hall lit up in red in support of Long Beach Gives.

And some organizations went the extra mile. Farmers & Merchants Bank, for example, contributed to every participating organization.

“It felt like there was more synergy and collaboration between the different sectors within the city to really support nonprofits and the work they’re doing,” Guardabascio said.

Although the amount of funds raised did not grow this year, Guardabascio is proud of what was accomplished through this year’s Long Beach Gives, he said.

“I know it seems silly, but for me as the campaign manager, I’m already really excited for next year,” Guardabascio said. “It’s poising us to continue growing and finding new people and being able to spread what’s happening here in Long Beach in the nonprofit sector.”