Chase Community Giving and the Wildlife Center of Virginia

Chase Community Giving is a philanthropic effort held by JPMorgan Chase in which charity projects will receive money in accordance to votes by the public on Facebook. The staff at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro is encouraging friends, community members, and supporters to cast a vote for the Wildlife Center.

Voting is now under way, and ends on May 25th. The Center is one of only three Virginia organizations in the top 100 – the other two are the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the National Association for Music Education [headquartered in Reston].

This year’s spring program is the third installment of Chase Community Giving. On March 31, Chase announced a two-year, $25 million commitment to the Chase Community Giving program, which allows Facebook’s 500 million-plus users to choose from hundreds of thousands of charities and vote for them to win grants from Chase. More than 2.7 million Facebook users have “Liked” the Chase Community Giving page. Eligible charities included 501 (c)(3) charities with an operating budget from $1 million to $10 million.

Chase is giving out a total of $5 million through two rounds of online voting. In Round I, Chase gave $25,000 to 100 charities nationwide, based on votes cast through Facebook. The Virginia Wildlife Center was one of those 100 recipients – in fact, the center finished in the top 10 in the final nationwide voting.

In Round 2, these 100 organizations had the option to submit a “Big Idea” in 1,000 characters or less describing how they would use $500,000 to further its cause. Come charities also submitted a 30-second video and five photos demonstrating their “Big Idea.” Since May 19, Facebook users have been voting again to select the best ideas among the top 100 charities. The 25 charities that receive the most votes will receive between $20,000 and $500,000. The winners of Round 2 will be announced on May 26. The top vote-getter will receive $500,000; #2 receiving $400,000, et cetera.

A grant of $100,000, or $250,000, or $500,000 would make a world of difference to the Center. With that money the Center would improve housing for wildlife patients, build a new fly pen for eagles, hawks, and owls, a new area for baby birds, a waterfowl pen and more. Second, the Center would set up an online webcam network to share the activities of the animals with friends around the world. The wild animal patients will be on webcams that will give people the chance to watch eagles being prepared for release or bear cubs recovering from injuries, or turtles just being turtles.

Also with the $500,000, the Center would purchase much needed medical equipment to help the vets save even more lives. There will be new lighting for the surgical unit, a heated surgery table, a water tank for treating oiled and injured waterfowl and more.

Additional information is posted on the Wildlife Center’s website www.wildlifecenter.org/wp/2011/05/chase-community-giving/, including a video with Buddy [a Bald Eagle], a cartoon video about the Chase project, and a summary of how they would use the funds.

For more information on the Chase Community program, or to “like” the page and vote for the Wildlife Center, visit http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/.

Story by Suzi Foltz

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