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No big events means local foundations fundraise virtually during COVID-19

Organizations encourage donations to help those in need
Posted at 11:07 AM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 13:04:52-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — It's safe to say that "season" in Palm Beach County will look a little different this year during a pandemic.

Many balls and black tie events have been put on hold. Now local non-profit organizations are getting creative in fundraising for the people who need it most.

Mike Bauer, the president of the Jupiter Police Foundation, said the police officer’s ball usually takes place in March.

“We are hoping to hold a digital event in its place,” Bauer said.

The primary goal of the foundation is to fund-raise in order to support the Jupiter Police Department and any officers who need help. It’s essentially an extra source of funding for the department.

“We live in the community and try to make an impact,” said Bauer. “We try to do the things that maybe the budget doesn’t allow through the normal sources, or if an officer is in need, we’re there.”

Bauer worries the lack of an in-person event could lead to lost revenue for the front lines.

“We helped co-fund a drone program for the police department,” Bauer said. “In the middle of COVID, we already have more requests for funding, but then we don’t have our big revenue streams coming in, so it does make it hard.”

They’re now turning to a mailer campaign and a virtual event in place of the ball.

Nicole Mercado, the executive director of Little Smiles, said they’ve had to switch gears and pivot.

“Our donations were down, and we had to just really address how we can meet the needs of the kids,” said Mercado.

The annual Stars Ball, the largest fundraiser of the year for the organization, will now be a virtual event.

“Our kids still need us,” Mercado said. “Our mission is to let kids be kids during difficult times.”

Now both Mercado and Bauer are asking you to still give and get involved. It matters to people in our community.

“We serve 23,000 kids a year with Little Smiles and when we are down in revenue, we have to get creative in how we can help our kids,” said Mercado. “We don’t want it to get to a situation where we can’t help the youth we serve."

“We want the people who are out there on the front lines, literally, getting the support they need,” said Bauer.