Beginning this month, the community will start hearing more about local nonprofits participating in the Give Big Kern online fundraising campaign.

Observed on the first Tuesday in May, Give Big Kern is a dynamic and fun day of giving hosted by Kern Community Foundation to foster local philanthropy in support of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations in Kern County. The effort allows nonprofits registered with the foundation to gain visibility as they engage the entire community in "One day to celebrate the giving spirit of Kern County!"

But, in order to not keep early-bird donors waiting, the website givebigkern.org starts receiving donations a month out: So, from April 4 through May 4 this year, anyone willing to make a minimum online donation of $5 can visit givebigkern.org, search among close to 130 participating organizations, and give to the causes they care about, or pledge volunteer hours.

The public’s generosity thus helps meet local charities’ needs — including those caused by the ongoing pandemic. Because it is an online effort, Give Big Kern is a safe, social-distancing-compliant way for nonprofits to fundraise — and it is free to participating agencies thanks to our generous sponsors’ support. Small transaction fees charged per donation are covered by the donors.

Since its launch in 2016, Give Big Kern has raised more than $1.7 million from thousands of community members to benefit hundreds of local charities. Our best year so far was 2020: Less than two months into the COVID shut down, Give Big Kern raised close to three-quarters of a million dollars for 125 participating agencies. Give Big Kern is the 2019 and 2020 winner of the Beautiful Bakersfield Award for helping to create “A Better Bakersfield.”

Our mascot, Billy the Give Big Goat, encourages everyone to "Give B-i-i-i-g!" once again in 2021. Simply go to givebigkern.org, find your passion, and give!

Tehachapi area participants include Guardians Around The Earth, Heritage Oak School, Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue and Rising Star Riders. Consider giving to these and other charities that are participating. Because Give Big Kern also involves a friendly competition for prizes that go to the top performing organizations (most dollars raised, most volunteers recruited, etc.), who knows: You might help your favorite nonprofit earn some extra cash as icing on the cake!

For more information, write to us at info@kernfoundation.org.

Louis Medina serves as director of community impact for Kern Community Foundation.