When Susie Roden was in Washington, D.C., a couple of months ago, she saw someone wearing a shirt emblazoned with a phrase: “Give Where You Live.” It sparked an idea that aims to benefit charities on the East End.Ms. Roden has teamed up with Stacy Quarty, a fellow philanthropist with whom she runs the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital and the organization Lucia’s Angels, to launch their own “Give Where You Live” campaign. The initiative, which kicked off at a press conference on Wednesday, October 8, focuses on encouraging people to donate to local charities and nonprofit organizations so that donations stay in the community to directly help the causes they represent.
“We just want to create awareness to let people know that there are people in this community who need help,” Ms. Quarty said.
Several organizations of all different kinds have signed on to be part of the campaign, including i-tri girls, the Hampton Theatre Company, the Children’s Museum of the East End, the Flying Point Foundation for Autism, Maureen’s Haven, Ellen’s Run, and Kiwanis of Southampton.
The Hamptons is a prime location for large summer fundraisers—many of which are for non-local charities. Both Ms. Quarty and Ms. Roden explained that while they do not necessarily want to discourage people from donating to nationwide organizations like the American Cancer Society or the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, they want their campaign to make people aware of the need to support many local nonprofits in order to help them carry out their missions.
“If people still decide they want to give to an organization in the city, that’s fine—just know where your money’s going,” Ms. Quarty said.
Kate Mueth, founder of the dance theater company Neo-Political Cowgirls, explained that local charities often use the bulk of their donations for services because, unlike larger organizations, most don’t have hefty administrative costs to cover. Additionally, she added that people usually don’t realize how much goes into running a nonprofit, as smaller groups typically don’t have the funds to employ people to assist with the workload, and that often turns a passion to help people into a second occupation. “It is beyond a full-time job,” she said.
She commended Ms. Roden and Ms. Quarty for taking the initiative. “I’m kind of going, ‘Thank God.’ It’s such a relief to kind of have someone help get the energy going again. It would be really nice to see local money … get really active in local not-for-profits.”
John v.H. Halsey, president of the Southampton-based Peconic Land Trust, thanked Ms. Roden and Ms. Quarty for bringing local nonprofits together and mirrored Ms. Mueth’s statement about how important it is for these local groups to get more support.
“On the East End, we are fortunate to have so many wonderful local organizations working on behalf of our communities. Partnerships like Give Where You Live can raise public awareness of our local programs, including our successes as well as the challenges that we continue to face as local organizations,” Mr. Halsey wrote in an email. “The Peconic Land Trust is looking forward to lending its voice.”
To get Give Where You Live off the ground, Ms. Roden and Ms. Quarty obtained a small amount of seed money from Lucia’s Angels and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers to put toward designing and distributing items such as bumper stickers, window decals, and umbrellas, all stamped with the campaign’s logo.
Both Ms. Roden and Ms. Quarty said they were pleased with the response they have gotten from nonprofits about the initiative thus far, adding that with enough exposure, they hope to be able to boost donations to help the East End.
“We have to help our neighbors. We’re your waitresses, we’re your babysitters. We don’t have tons of money,” Ms. Roden said. “We also want to keep our community beautiful. We want to save our trees and our water and our land. And I think people like to keep the money where it’s from.”