Give Big CHQ: A New Way to Contribute

CRCF Staff prepares for our region's only 24-hour online giving day, Give Big CHQ on June 13.  (L to R) June Diethrick, Karie Hayes, Lisa Lynde, Michelle Frederickson, Liz Jones, Tory Irgang (not pictured Sarah Shelters)

Contributing Writer
Walt Pickut

Give Big CHQ is a new kind of fundraising event. It is designed to raise as many dollars as possible for more than 90 local non-profit organizations of all sizes throughout Chautauqua County.

Midnight to Midnight

It all takes place within just 24-hours. Give Big CHQ goes live on Thursday, June 13th, starting at 12:00 a.m., the first minute of the day, and wraps up only 24 hours later, at 11:59 p.m., the last minute of June 13. And it all happens online. Nobody knocks on doors and nobody stands in doorways asking for money.

Give Big CHQ is hosted by the Chautauqua Region and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundations. 2019 is the second year for this extraordinary event. It has inspired people to come together, show pride in their communities, and support local causes they care about.

Jamestown Fire Fighter Phil Genco reads to one of Jamestown’s future leaders
from one of the books purchased by Parents as Teachers from proceeds
of last year’s Give Big CHQ. Also reading, not pictured, Fire Fighter Adam Akin and Lieutenant Ryan Roush.

Raising Support & Friends

“We want to give our non-profits an opportunity to reach out to more people and to roll out their messages in a new way,” said Liz Jones, Research and Engagement Associate for Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF).

Liz invites Jamestown Gazette readers to visit a complete list of the 90+ organizations they can contribute to at Each one is accompanied by a profile of their work and mission. The website also offers searches by location, by the type of work they do, and by the causes they support.

“We’re building the capacity of non-profits to not only raise money, but gain new friends and supporters, as well,” Liz added. “Only organizations that are verified as 501(c)(3) charitable non-profits conducting operations or providing services in Chautauqua County are participating.”

Anyone may donate through the Give Big CHQ online portal using a credit or debit card. Any time on June 13, simply go to, click on the market basket and follow the prompts. The minimum donation is $10. All gifts are tax deductible, irrevocable, and for the unrestricted use of the non-profits.

Every gift to every organization is welcome, regardless of its size. “Last year, nearly 80 percent of all gifts were less than $50,” said CRCF Excutive Director, Torey Irgang, “We want to help people understand the value of their gifts.”

Successes Reported

A single, unified giving platform like Give Big CHQ helps smaller non-profits save money on fund raising and marketing so they can focus on their mission. The medium sized and larger non-profits benefit by giving their supporters a simple, once-a-year opportunity to make their contributions.

Many organizations reported remarkable successes from last year’s Give Big CHQ.

The Learning Council

“The one-day event created a lot of energy for our staff and created new friendships. It was great,” said Rosary Kolivas, Executive Director of the Jamestown Community Learning Council. “The gifts helped us buy new books for our Parents as Teachers Program, and we gained new donors who had never even heard of us before.”

Last Thursday, downtown Jamestown saw a moving parade of moms and dads “Rolling and Reading” with their toddlers and children. At selected places across town community members read to them out of the books The Learning Council purchased last year from Give Big CHQ contributions. The readers included fire fighters, police officers, and Jamestown’s Mayor Sam Teresi.

Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame

“First of all, we are very thankful for the Chautauqua region community foundation organizing all the not-for-profits in one unified group with a common purpose,” said Randy Anderson, director of the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame. “We are all pulling together, and that’s a very good thing.”

“Last year we received contributions from between 40 and 50 donors, and we think this year we will build on the momentum we gained last year.”

Martz-Kohl Observatory

“We used to call ourselves ‘The best kept secret of Chautauqua County,” said Gary Nelson, president of the Martz-Kohl Astronomical Observatory in Frewsburg, “but not anymore. Local foundations have been very generous in helping us build our major upgrades in the last few years.”

“This is our first year with Give Big CHQ, and we’re looking forward to welcoming lots of new friends and contributors.”

“We are an all-volunteer organization,” Nelson added, “dedicated to learning and discovery for students from grammar school through college, and for the general public. This is a resource unique to the entire region, and we want to share it with everybody.”

Martz-Kohl is one of a number of outstanding non-profits dedicated to natural science education, all taking part in Give Big CHQ this year.

Lucille Ball (AKA Madison Hill) and her friend Molly Hanft read to Roll ‘n Read attendees with Parents as Teachers who bought the books from last year’s gifts received through Give Big CHQ.

Many Causes and Categories

Parents and educators know that one of the most important non-profit organizations in any community is its free public library. This year, Give Big CHQ offers opportunities to contribute to at least eight fine, local community libraries.

Support for local natural resource use – in preservation and recreation – from Rails to Trails, to Watershed Conservation, and the Lawson Center for the history of boating on Chautauqua Lake, is also possible through Give Big CHQ.

Health care, child care, animal care, and the care of our county’s less fortunate citizens are also represented on the list of non-profits that Jamestown Gazette readers can chose to support on June 13. Support for sports, music, and the arts also plays a major role in Give Big CHQ for 2019.

Multi-Give and Prizes

The multi-give feature of Give Big CHQ offers contributors an opportunity to give a single amount and designate a group of organizations to share in the contribution. With multi-give, for example, a $100 gift can be distributed as four $25 contributions to four separate causes.

“We want people to understand the value and simplicity of giving,” CRCF Executive Director Irgang said. “There is something for everyone in the success of all of our non-profits.”

One more opportunity to contribute has been created by CRCF. Prizes will be awarded to the organizations which record the highest fund-raising totals for the day, the largest number of unique donors, and other milestones reached during the 24 hours of Thursday, June 13, 2019.

Learn More

Jamestown Gazette readers are invited to visit and browse the profiles of organizations they know, have supported in the past, and perhaps most important of all, those they have never heard of before. Amazing things are happening in Chautauqua County. Visit the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation at to know more. Give Big CHQ is a great time to learn more about it all.

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.