Off Script: The power of collaboration

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Winters brings the significance of “it takes a village” to a new level. The community support is one of the reasons I chose to move back (even though as a rebellious teenager I swore I never would). The work that goes into supporting all of “the things” that happen in this community is thanks to our local nonprofit organizations and countless volunteers.  Community members give their passion, skills and hours of service to nonprofits ranging from parent liaison groups like the Winters Combined PTA; to big project groups like Project Playground; to events and targeted community support like the Winters Youth Day Committee and our newest group Winters Community Corazón. The Big Day of Giving has held a special place in my heart ever since I was the BDOG chair for the Winters Friends of the Library in 2018. I learned a lot as I led the charge as the Team Captain and I noticed there were a lot of posters and signs for each of the participating organizations. In February 2019, I reached out to the other nonprofits participating and together we launched the first Winters BDOG collaboration efforts. Although the number of participants has fluctuated over the past two BDOG events since 2019, this year’s was the best by far. With eight participating nonprofits — including three new groups — they worked together via Zoom and through emails to revamp and step up the efforts (despite the hindrance of COVID guidelines). They have continued to work together to not only support each other, but to help strengthen the Winters community. Winters Music Boosters President Joanie Bryant said her group was happy to participate in the collaboration because this was their first BDOG campaign.  “Members of the veteran BDOG groups provided WMB with strategies and suggestions for our campaign. The shared advertising of the collaboration group lifted a large part of the burden of getting the word out to the community for each single group,” Bryant said. Hats off to Putah Creek Council, Winters Education Foundation, Winters Farm to School, Winters Friends of the Library, Winters Museum, Winters Music Boosters, Winters Participation Gallery and Winters Senior Foundation. Their combined campaigns are putting $124,509 back into the community, based off of their total donations from the BDOG website. These totals only reflect online donations, and not donations made in person so it could be even higher. One of the most exciting things about this year was that the whole Winters collaboration group won a Best Business Partnership prize for their efforts in working with the Express, Lester Farms Bakery and Steady Eddy’s Coffee House for promoting their BDOG campaigns. Only three of these prizes are awarded during the 24-hour giving challenge and each group was able to bring in an additional $312 prize. In addition, Putah Creek Council, Winters Senior Foundation, Winters Museum and Winters Friends of the Library all received additional prizes on May 6. Other Winters businesses have made collaborative partnerships during COVID to help keep their business alive. I expect to see more collaborations going forward to help bring resources and opportunities to our community.  It’s been inspiring and exciting to see the big things that our small town groups and businesses can do when they work together.

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