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Greening Greenfield gets more than it expected

GREENFIELD — When Greening Greenfield decided to join the new Valley Gives fundraiser this year, its members hoped to reach the $2,000 goal they set.

“We were amazed and very happy when it was over,” said Greening Greenfield Treasurer Susan Worgaftik of Greenfield. “People were so generous.”

The nonprofit green energy committee ended up raising $5,000, an amount Worgaftik said will help support its programs, workshops, community forums and the networking the group’s members do each year well into 2013.

“We heard about this new Valley Gives fundraiser and decided to check it out,” said Worgaftik. “It was another way to raise the money we need to operate.”

Valley Gives was created by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts as an easy way for residents in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties to give to their favorite charities and do it online. The foundation was created to help improve the quality of life in the three counties.

“We started sending letters to people in the fall so they knew it was coming,” said Worgaftik.

“We immediately had someone offer a match of $500 and people came through with the same in donations, so we had our first $1,000,” she said. “Then, two more people came through with matches of $250 each and people came through again to raise another $500.”

Worgaftik said the fundraising effort took on a life of its own and before Greening Greenfield knew it, the nonprofit had raised money through Valley Gives and on its own.

“We just didn’t expect this,” said Worgaftik, who said she believes people give to Greening Greenfield because they see results.

“We do things that end up benefiting all Greenfield residents, even if they aren’t supporters,” said Worgaftik. “People tell us all the time how happy they are that they see things happening.”

Those things include the green energy committee’s 10% Challenge, which raised money and got hundreds of residents of Greenfield to agree to cut their energy use over the next several years, she said.

Greening Greenfield has also offered free public forums and educational meetings, workshops and has shown movies relating to green energy and global warming, which are also free and open to the public.

“The committee is an all-volunteer committee, so there is no paid staff,” said Worgaftik. “All of the money we raise goes to creating programs, buying or renting films we show, creating workshops and youth programs, networking and maintaining our Web site. No one cost is huge, but they all add up over time.”

Worgaftik said a subcommittee of five people worked on the Valley Gives fundraiser.

For more about Greening Greenfield, visit: www.greeninggreenfield.org.

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