Ridgefield organizations raise thousands on record-setting Giving Day

The Iris Fund's 2019 running team, long before then pandemic

The Iris Fund’s 2019 running team, long before then pandemic

Contributed photo / Brittney Crystal

RIDGEFIELD — Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Giving Day set a record this year in online donations, coming in a year when nonprofits are especially in need due to COVID.

This year’s Giving Day raised more than $2.25 million from more than 14,800 donors. That money benefits the nearly 400 organizations that participated, including some in Ridgefield.

“While the pandemic made it impossible for nonprofits to raise funds in traditional in-person events, thousands responded to the call on Fairfield County’s Giving Day, contributing critical funds at a critical time for hundreds of local nonprofits,” said Juanita James, the foundation’s president and CEO. “The Community Foundation is honored to help make this truly momentous day of compassion, kindness, and goodwill possible for the communities we call home and all of our neighbors.”

This year’s results exceeded prior totals, unique donors, bonus money and total donations made, setting new records in all four categories with the help of backing from Bank of America and other sponsors.

The Ridgefield Chorale hasn’t had the option for live performances since last year, adjusting to virtual activities with members, including recording videos to share with supporters and include in virtual community celebrations. The Ridgefield Playhouse has all Arts in Education programs virtually, allowing for even bigger audiences for kids. And the Ridgefield Theater Barn, which has been closed since March 11 of 2020, will use donations from Giving Day to help them prepare for reopening.

For organizations like these, Giving Day was a much needed help as things are going back to how they once were.

The Iris Fund won the Women and Girls Power Hour for receiving the greatest number of donations, earning them $750 to help with critical research.

Ridgefield Giving Day totals

Here's how some of Ridgefield's organizations did during this year's Fairfield County's Community Foundation's Giving Day.

The Ridgefield Chorale: $23,748

The Iris Fund: $14,085

Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield: $11,051

Ridgefield Library Association: $8,708

Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue: $8,410

Meals on Wheels of Ridgefield: $5,176

The Ridgefield Playhouse: $3,603

The Ridgefield Theater Barn: $1,460

The Ridgefield Historical Society: $895

Ridgefield Guild of Artist: $875

Land Conservancy of Ridgefield: $300

“This Iris Fund and our family are thriving thanks to this town and I definitely want to send a big love letter out to everybody in it,” said Brittney Crystal the Iris Fund’s founder and mother of Iris Crystal Aleman, .

The Iris Fund was established in 2017 to support preterm birth research. It is named after Iris Crystal Aleman, who was born and died due to complications of preterm birth. Since then, her parents, Crystal and Jose Aleman of Ridgefield, and other family and friends have come together to raise almost $300,000 from close to 600 donors.

“We returned from the hospital without our baby — but I had been visibly pregnant — so I knew walking Main Street and seeing our local vendors and restaurant owners was going to be a real challenge,” Crystal said. “Navigating our grief, while parenting our son Bruce and growing Iris’ legacy became huge priorities for us. And in our most challenging hour, this town fully embraced us in a way I have never been able to adequately express.”

Other participating organizations included Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Library Association raised, Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue, Meals on Wheels of Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Historical Society, Ridgefield Guild of Artist and Land Conservancy of Ridgefield.

Visit FCGives.org for a full list of prize winners and to see the final leaderboard.

gmarku@darientimes.com