401Gives launches weekend edition

United Way of Rhode Island initiative aims to raise $4.01 million to benefit nearly 600 nonprofit organizations in the state

By: - March 31, 2023 5:58 am

Gearing up for the first weekend edition of 401Gives are United Way of Rhode Island Program Coordinator Caitlynn Douglas, President & CEO Cortney Nicolato and Director of Resource Operations Jennifer Remmes. (Photo by Janine L. Weisman/Rhode Island Current)

Jennifer Remmes started celebrating Rhode Island’s annual day of giving on her last visit to the nail salon.

Remmes, United Way of Rhode Island’s director of resource operations, chose a sparkly blue lacquer for her fingernails to get into the spirit of 401Gives, named after the state’s area code. 

“It is definitely intentional, had to do that,” Remmes said during a short break from her computer Thursday, the day before the action was to start.

401Gives makes online giving easy, putting the power of philanthropy right at your own fingertips. And it isn’t just a day anymore. This year April 1 falls on a Saturday, so the fundraiser organized by United Way of Rhode Island will cover an entire weekend for what will be its fourth consecutive year. 

The platform started accepting online donations at 6 a.m. Friday and will continue through 6 p.m. Monday, April 3.

401Gives is accepting online donations from 6 a.m. Friday, March 31, through 6 p.m. Monday, April 3.

United Way of Rhode Island Director of Resources Operations Jennifer Remmes even got a sparkly manicure to celebrate 401Gives weekend. (Photo by Janine L. Weisman/Rhode Island Current)

As of Thursday, a record 578 nonprofits from across the Ocean State were signed up to participate in 401Gives this year. They include Rhode Island Current. Nonprofits can take advantage of special matches designated at certain times over the weekend. 

Last year, Rhode Islanders made a total of 20,153 individual donations during 401Gives, raising more than $3.1 million for their work. 

Making 2023 an entire weekend convinced United Way of Rhode Island to increase this year’s fundraising goal at $4.01 million. 

“The generosity of the Rhode Island community has showed that a weekend is truly doable and there’s a lot of excitement already,” said United Way of Rhode Island CEO Cortney Nicolato. 

“When you have 575 plus organizations who are putting so much effort and excitement into it, that energy’s palpable. I think that will absolutely transcend through the weekend.”

On Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m., participating nonprofits can join a WaterFire procession in Memorial Park in Providence followed by a special partial lighting at 7:10 p.m. During the lighting, QR codes will be displayed directing people to the 401Gives website to donate to local nonprofits. The lighting is sponsored by Rhode Island Energy. Saturday’s Providence Bruins game at 7 p.m. at the Amica Mutual Pavilion is scheduled to highlight 401Gives as well.

Set your alarm for matching grant opportunities

Rhode Island Foundation has pledged a total of $75,000 in matching funds to boost interest and donations this year. The foundation will match online contributions up to $500, dollar for dollar, until it hits a $25,000 limit, when 401Gives starts Friday at 6 a.m. and again at 4:01 p.m. On Monday, April 3, at noon, the foundation will contribute $20 for every individual gift made above $5 until last $25,000 is reached.

It does not take long before the match totals are reached. Last year, the 6 a.m. match reached its threshold in 63 seconds, Remmes said.

“The tradition in my household is that we wake up early,” Nicolato said. “My husband and I compile our list. He is determined to get part of the match and so he will literally be on and watching his clock and I will be drinking coffee.”

The Papitto Opportunity Connection has committed a $20,000 match that will be used to donate $20 for every online gift made starting at $5.

The last $1,500 collected on Monday, April 3, will be matched by Hope Global. The maximum match made per donor will be $50.


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Janine L. Weisman
Janine L. Weisman

Rhode Island Current Editor-in-Chief Janine L. Weisman served as a reporter and editor during her 25-year career in the newsroom of The Newport Daily News. She is an adjunct journalism faculty member at Roger Williams University.