Mayor Fischer rallies community for 'Give A Day' Week of Service, April 15-23

March 8, 2017

New projects, ways for people to be involved – Early!  

Flanked by representatives of dozens of groups and organizations that either need volunteer help or provide it, Mayor Greg Fischer today announced plans for his 2017 Give A Day week of service.

This year’s Give A Day week is set for April 15-23, although the Mayor noted that many projects will be under way earlier, to avoid conflicts with Easter weekend at the start of the week, and Thunder over Louisville at the end. Give A Day is an official Kentucky Derby Festival event, and kicks off the festival season.

(Find a Give A Day project)

This year’s Give A Day week also leads into the 2017 Festival of Faiths, another volunteer-driven event.

 “The people of Louisville are doing good things for one another every single day. Charities, schools, nonprofits exist and thrive because of our generous volunteer hours and donor dollars, and that’s a 24/7/365 thing in Louisville,” the Mayor said. “What Give A Day week does is shine the spotlight on that generous spirit, showing the world what it means to be an international city of compassion.”

2017 give a dayThe ultimate goal, he said, is to see compassion spread, and he pointed to the Build A Bed project as an example. That JCPS AmeriCorps-sponsored effort builds beds for children who otherwise don’t have one. With the support of nearly a dozen local companies, including K&I Lumber, the project provides a bed, bedding, books and stuffed animals – some of the basics of a good night’s sleep. The first Build a Bed in Louisville was a one-day event, but now the Build a Bad concept has grown, with volunteers and agencies setting up events throughout the year – beyond Give A Day week.

Last year’s Give A Day Week of Service produced a world-record 175,000 volunteers and acts of compassion. Mayor Fischer said this year’s goal is to top that, with even more volunteers, donations and other good deeds.

Other projects this year include:

  • Two weekends of community/alley cleanups sponsored by the Mayor’s office. On April 15, hundreds of volunteers will be cleaning up in the California neighborhood, and on April 22, hundreds of more will be in the Shawnee, Smoketown and Shelby Park communities.
  • A pre-Give A Day clothing and supplies drive for refugees in Greece. The “With Love from Louisville” event, which is being led by the Center for Interfaith Relations in partnership with Supplies Over Seas and UPS, runs March 9-24.
  • The return of a short Walk of Compassion through downtown on April 18 that is part of the international WE Day. The public is invited to join more than 3,000 students participating in the lunch-time walk, which is sponsored by WLKY. WE Day students already are collecting hygiene products to be shared with Kentucky Refugee Ministries and JCPS’ resource centers. Two local businesses – Heine Bros. and Highland Cleaners – have agreed to serve as drop-off centers for citizens wanting to contribute.

During a kickoff press conference held at the YMCA’s Safe Place headquarters on Crittenden Drive, Mayor Fischer praised community organizations like the YMCA for their leadership, and he specifically called out Metro United Way, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary, for its unflagging support of Give A Day.

Theresa Reno-Weber, president and CEO of Metro United Way, said, “We're proud to continue to lead Give A Day volunteer connections and help mobilize people to improve lives, because we know that working together we can build a brighter, stronger community where every child, individual and family achieve their full potential.

“As we turn 100 this year, we are especially proud to fight for the education, financial stability and health of every person in the seven counties we serve,” Reno-Weber added.  “Connecting people with the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done is at the heart of what we do because we know that great things happen when we Live United!”

The Mayor also praised the community’s schoolchildren, both public and private, for their support and involvement in Give A Day, noting that they are responsible for a huge percentage of the volunteers and acts of compassion counted every year.

“The Jefferson County Public School district is proud to have been a part of this since its inception,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens.  “Last year, once again, we had 100 percent participation from our schools, and our students volunteered the equivalent of almost three years of service in just one week.  This initiative gives our students opportunities to learn life lessons, compassion, and about caring for our community as a whole.  We are a better district educating better students because of Give A Day.”

The Archdiocese of Louisville's commitment to the Mayor's Give-Day initiative is a natural extension of our Catholic School curriculum that embeds service learning and the understanding of stewardship into its daily activities.  

Mary Beth Bowling, Assistant Superintendent of Catholic schools, said Give A Day participation “allows our students to firmly establish their commitment to community by performing acts of service that connect them with others outside the walls of their classroom. We are our brothers’ keepers and together we can impact our local community in ways we couldn't individually. Whether it is the daily food drive Our Lady of Lourdes does to support St. Matthew's Area Ministries or Trinity High School's cleanup and landscaping of Meadowview Cemetery on April 20th, we are in this together."

Individuals or groups wanting to find a project should visit where projects and needs submitted by local non-profit agencies and other groups are listed.

The Mayor also urged individuals and companies to also use the website to report their own community service. “If your church or civic group is doing a project that week, let us know about it so it can count toward our new world record,” he said.

The Brightside and Passport Health Plan Community-Wide Cleanup on April 15 is one of the most popular ways to participate in Give A Day. Every year, thousands help clean up neighborhoods, schools and parks. To learn more:

Companies and organizations of all sizes also will have employee teams in action, including GE, Computershare, UPS and Ford.

Mayor Fischer said having Give A Day week as the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby Festival helps put Louisville’s caring deeds in the world spotlight. And Festival president and CEO Mike Berry said the timing is perfect.

“Volunteerism is key to the Kentucky Derby Festival, which makes Give A Day a great fit for our official schedule,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO. “We are lucky to have some 4,000 volunteers every year who help us put on our events, and we couldn’t do it without them.”