Giving to the Heart of Wyoming:
$1 Million to Nonprofits

July 2021 marked the second annual Day of Giving in Wyoming, an effort spearheaded by the Wyoming Nonprofit Network to celebrate and support the not-for-profit organizations around the Cowboy State. The 24-hour fundraising event — known as WyoGives — sought to raise money for an expansive diversity of nonprofit organizations operating in multiple spheres. From those offering critical human services to those protecting the legacy and heritage of the state, to those working to ensure a healthy and safe environment, these nonprofits are all dedicated to lifting up Wyoming.

In an effort to support all of these important missions, as well as to inspire our fellow Wyomingites to make their own contribution, the Hughes Charitable Foundation offered a $1 million match for all donations made during the WyoGives Day of Giving.

We were confident that this support would empower these inspiring and resourceful organizations to continue serving the population of our home state, but when we heard from them exactly what this extra support meant to them, we were even more amazed.

I was elated when Molly Hughes called to offer the $1 million match for WyoGives! It was so much fun to share the exciting news with the Wyoming Nonprofit Network board and the participating nonprofits just hours before the midnight kickoff of WyoGives,” said Jody Shields, executive director of the Wyoming Nonprofit Network and the leader of the WyoGives event.

“We had great energy leading up to the 2nd annual event, but the Hughes Charitable Foundation match really accelerated the event to new levels for everyone. We know how impactful matching dollars can be to a campaign and we certainly saw the positive results of this incredible gift in the number of donors and the pace of donations. With the Hughes Charitable Foundation match, just nine hours into the 24-hour event we had surpassed last year’s total dollars raised. These funds are critical for nonprofits as they work to support families and enrich lives every day. We, along with the 193 nonprofits, are very appreciative of the Hughes Charitable Foundation and the 3,800+ donors who made this year’s WyoGives campaign a tremendous success with a total of $2.3 million raised.”

Here are just a few of the wonderful comments we’ve heard:

“We here at the Unaccompianied Students Initiative are so appreciative for support of the great people of Wyoming and the Hughes Charitable Foundation! Their generous matching funds enable us to provide housing support for more homeless youth in Wyoming,” said Austin Rodemaker, executive director of USI.

“Matching funds from the Hughes Charitable Foundation provided us with support for our operating funds so that we can dedicate more resources to our important program work. We can’t thank them enough for supporting Wyoming’s nonprofit organizations!” said Kristin Combs, executive director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates.

“The Hughes Charitable Foundation funding was a wonderful surprise. We were able to share the news of this amazing gift on social media and send notifications to our donor database,” said Pete Gosar, executive director of the Downtown Clinic in Laramie, WY.

There is little doubt that fundraising increased after the Hughes Charitable Foundation funding was announced and we will turn that funding into healthcare for people and families living at the margins. We are confident that every $1 donated to the Downtown Clinic returns more than $12 in healthcare and healthcare services provided to clients of our clinic. More importantly, the Hughes Charitable Foundation funding that was matched by online donations will mean that a diabetic will have access to insulin, that a person suffering from mental health issues will be able to see a counselor, and families living in poverty don't have to choose between housing and healthcare or meals and medicines.”

“This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and the 25th anniversary of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation,” said Membership and Development Director of Heart Mountain Foundation, Deni Hirsh. “At our annual Pilgrimage, which was less than two weeks after WyoGives, we planned to kick off the public phase of a capital campaign to fund construction of the Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain, which will offer a dedicated space for workshops and programming specifically designed to foster empathy, courage, and cooperation in the next generation of leaders. We are inspired in this endeavor by the accomplishments and — most of all — the friendship of Senator Alan K. Simpson and Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, who met as young boys at the Heart Mountain Japanese American Relocation Camp and have spent decades putting aside their political differences to work together and better the lives of all Americans.”

With the capital campaign kicking off soon, we weren't planning to participate significantly with WyoGives — hoping to raise just a few thousand dollars. However, when I received word of the Hughes Foundation's matching gift, I quickly put out the word to our Board of Directors to reach out to friends and family and really make a big push for donations. We were able to send out eBlasts and Facebook posts to increase our outreach and, thanks to the Foundation's match, raised close to $90,000 for our campaign. We are so grateful for this support from the Wyoming Nonprofit Network and the Hughes Charitable Foundation!”