Students will come back to a brighter, more beautiful learning environment thanks to the work of 6,000 registered volunteers on June 9. Every Serve-a-thon volunteer—whether you’re making a school brighter with a splash of paint, leading a group of volunteers or running check-in as a production assistant—should feel proud. You chose to spend your Saturday supporting your community and making a real difference in the lives of fellow Chicagoans.

Throughout the year, Chicago Cares creates programs that serve those in need. Through our programs, volunteers serve meals to the homeless, read with children, tend community gardens, provide companionship to seniors at risk of isolation, and much more. Chicago Cares relies on the generosity of individuals like you to fund these and hundreds of other programs.

Serve-a-thon is our version of a fundraising gala—except that instead of putting on your dancing shoes, we ask that you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Instead of bidding on silent auction items, we ask that you invite your friends and family to support our work by making a donation.

Fundraising by Serve-a-thon volunteers supports the work Chicago Cares does all year-long. We will invest the money you raise directly into programs and building our capacity to serve more Chicagoans in need. This year your donations could help:

We hope that you’ll choose to participate in Serve-a-thon fundraising starting today. We’re kicking off your efforts with a $150 Challenge prize drawing on Wednesday at noon. Every Serve-a-thon participant who raises $150 to support Chicago Cares programs will be entered into drawings for event tickets, wine tastings and more from now until Serve-a-thon! It’s our way of saying thank you for sharing our story and raising valuable funding for our programs.

Event participants can start by sending emails to friends and family asking them to support Chicago Cares using our easy templates. Share your experience with your friends and family—let them know why you’re giving up your Saturday to volunteer with us.

Where you choose to give your time and money is an expression of your most personal beliefs, values and passions. We are honored that you choose to give your time to Chicago Cares projects. Please consider taking your dedication a step further by asking your friends and family to support our work.

Not able to participate in Serve-a-thon, but want to support our programs? Make a donation today or consider holding a fundraising event benefiting Chicago Cares. Or, if you are currently registered as a Production Assistant and would like to join Serve-a-thon fundraising efforts, contact Development Manager, Sarah Holliday for more information.

Today’s post is by Development Manager, Sarah Holliday.