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Nonprofits plan for upcoming fundraisers
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Upcoming fundraisers
My Sister’s Place
What: Annual fundraiser dinner
When: Saturday; auction begins at 5 p.m., dinner served at 6:30
Where: Walter’s Barn, Lula

Our Neighbor
What: Sandra Hall in Concert
When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13
Where: Pierce Auditorium

The economic situation is presenting obstacles for everyone, and many nonprofit organizations are taking a hit as giving goes down.

Two local nonprofit groups, My Sister’s Place and Our Neighbor Inc., are trying to rise above hard times with upcoming fundraisers.

My Sister’s Place is holding its Annual Fundraiser Dinner on Saturday at Walter’s Barn in Lula. A silent auction will begin at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30.

The event will feature dancing and live music.

My Sister’s Place, which serves as an emergency shelter for homeless women and children, is pressing on despite some drawbacks with fundraising.

"Everyone is having trouble raising funds in general," said Sylvia Stoltzfus, the group’s executive director.

The organization lowered the price on tickets for the annual fundraiser in light of the recession.

My Sister’s Place is working toward raising enough money to build a new house to accommodate more people who are in need.

"Just in July alone, we turned away 24 people," Stoltzfus said. "And in August, we turned away 28."

Gainesville resident Gertrude Worthington recently told My Sister’s Place that if the group raised $25,000, she would match it.

My Sister’s Place raised the $25,000, which was matched by Worthington, but she challenged them to raise another $25,000, and she would match that as well.

My Sister’s Place hasn’t raised another round of $25,000 yet, but organizers hope the Annual Fundraiser Dinner helps.

"Every dime we raise will go toward that match," said Stoltzfus.

Like My Sister’s Place, Our Neighbor is another organization trying to forge ahead despite the economic downturn.

Our Neighbor seeks to inspire those who are challenged with disabilities. The group provides young residents with a secure home of their own by providing accessible housing specific to their needs.

Our Neighbor is preparing for a November fundraising concert that will feature Atlanta native Sandra Hall, known for her mix of blues and soul. Jack Pearson, former Allman Brothers Band guitarist, also will perform.

"By participating in the concert, you are helping Our Neighbor continue to serve young adults in Northeast Georgia who have physical disabilities," said Steve Smith, the executive director of Our Neighbor.

"We want to give these guys the same choices as people who don’t have a disability."

In addition to dealing with the economic downturn that has meant reduced donations for many nonprofits, Our Neighbor is faced with the obstacle of being a new organization.

"We are so young," said Smith. "Our organization is only about 3, going on 4, years old. With the economy being the way that it is, competing for grants is extremely competitive."

Smith said Our Neighbor is grateful for recently being awarded a grant from Jackson Electrical Membership Corp.

Smith said Our Neighbor also is planning the annual banquet, set for Feb. 13.

"We are finding that it is necessary to plan for a fundraiser a year in advance," Smith said.

Like My Sister’s Place, fundraisers are very important to Our Neighbor.

Smith said that local fundraising is where the group gets the majority of its funds, but the group also is receiving funds from individuals.

Smith also said that Our Neighbor is hoping to look at some new fundraising events that they haven’t had in the past, such as softball and basketball tournaments.

"We want to expand the donor base to folks who normally wouldn’t know about Our Neighbor," Smith said.

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