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Girls Inc. in Schenectady begins fundraising challenge

Girls Inc. in Schenectady begins fundraising challenge

Firm will match donations up to $10,000
Girls Inc. in Schenectady begins fundraising challenge
Ashli Frogomeni, Executive Director of Girls, Inc. Schenectady Wednesday
Photographer: Peter Barber/Staff Photographer

SCHENECTADY – As businesses have had to change their typical models, so have not-for-profit companies.

All are looking to serve their customer base, maintain sales, staffing and keep revenue streams flowing.

Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region has teamed up with the Atrium Financial Group with a new fundraising model from its most recent executive director, Ashli Fragomeni.

“After I started here in May, one of the first things they asked me was 'How do we creatively get what Girls Inc. is doing into the community even more so during this pandemic?'” Fragomeni said. “My thought was we need people to understand what Girls Inc. does and the experience that girls can have. 

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“That led to the thought of finding a way to enlist new donors and the best way I could think of to do that was to create a new group of donors at a lower donor level than we typically would.”

Girls Inc. is offering the Experience Challenge for six weeks through Aug. 14 with gifts of $50 or more being matched up to $10,000 by Bill and Linda Newman from Atrium Financial Group.

“It’s a model of more donors, less money and enlisting your 20- and 30-year old donors that are in our community that want to be active and support our girls,” Fragomeni said. “Bill and I creatively came up with the idea for us to do it in those chunks of $50.”

It was then the generosity of Newman that was a big surprise for the newly hired executive.

“Bill serves on our board; he chairs our gifts committee and is a fantastic supporter and volunteer for us,” Fragomeni said. “Bill so generously came back and said if you can do that, make this campaign happen, myself and my wife will match it up to $10,000.”

Fragomeni and Girls Inc. had to adjust their afterschool programming after March 13 when local schools went to remote learning.

“We very quickly went to virtual programming,” Fragomeni said. “While not in our buildings, we provided activity packs for the girls so every week we could provide them with an activity pack outside the building for them.

“It had everything from an educational component to an arts and crafts component, a physical activity component, snacks for the week. Everything they would have received from us in our programming within our building, but in a bag that they could take home to do at home.”

The spring program ended on schedule in mid-May with its Summer Fun program beginning July 6.

“It is the same concept with the activity packs: two days of pick-up for the activity packs, Monday and Wednesdays,” she said.

Fragomeni is also looking to expand the reach of Girls Inc., offering parents a chance to talk to parents on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. July 8, 15 and 22 in Schenectady’s Central Park near the playground. The organization will be at Albany’s Washington Park near the playground from 1 to 3 p.m. on July 29, Aug. 5 and 12.

“My biggest thing when I came to Girls Inc. was that I've been in the community for a very long time working with YMCAs and I had personally in my journey had never partnered with Girls Inc. or collaborated with them on anything,” Fragomeni said. “Having that fresh set of eyes, we do serve 1,000 girls every year consistently over the last three or four years, but what if we could serve 1,500 or 2,000.

“I think we can.”

Even more programming can be made possible with the help of 200 people, each with a $50 donation.

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“I'm excited about being able to share that on my own personal Facebook page and reach out to people in my own personal circle and say this is what we are doing,” Fragomeni said. “To have the Newman's match that, what a success to be able to raise $20,000 in six weeks to support the young females of our communities.

“I think it's super obtainable, I think it is going to be a really nice way to increase our donor base.”

Reach Stan Hudy at [email protected] or follow @StanHudy on Twitter.

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