Last week, a friend of mine asked me why The Union puts on events in our community. I was surprised by this question but, after further thought, decided that although it was obvious to me, maybe it wasn’t as obvious to others.
The Union’s purpose is to serve our great community by providing comprehensive local news, a place for people to express their opinions and ideas and to promote local commerce. The Union has done this through our local newspaper, for about 149 years. The Union has also achieved these things through hosting community events.
As many of you know, The Union partners with many nonprofit organizations in our community through sponsorships and donation of advertising. In 2012 alone, The Union donated more than $210,000 in advertising to help more than 70 local nonprofit organizations, such as KARE Crisis Nursery, The Friendship Club, The Nevada County Food Bank, Women of Worth, Hospice, The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, InConcert Sierra, Lions, Kiwanis, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office, Hospitality House, the Grass Valley Downtown Association, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, The Center for the Arts, Music in the Mountains, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and so many more.
The value to these nonprofit organizations goes well beyond the dollar value of the specific advertising space in The Union. Those ads invite the community members to their fundraisers to make donations and to educate that their services are available. For example, a $300 ad can help an organization raise $5,000 or more through its advertised fundraising event.
But back to the original question: “Why does The Union hold events?” Simply stated, to support (and entertain) our community.
Let’s start with The Union’s Spring Home & Garden Show the last weekend of April — now in its 28th year. Thousands of people attend (for free) to see and learn about the latest in home improvement, garden and landscaping ideas, services and products. It’s the perfect family event — with plenty of activities for kids as well. They can build a birdhouse, paint a flower pot, jump in the bounce house, get their faces painted or simply have the opportunity to hang out with mom and dad. It’s lots of fun.
From a business/commerce standpoint, more than 200 businesses (most of them local) have the opportunity to meet their customers and prospects face-to-face, in a relaxed environment. Many of our vendors say this two-day event brings them more business than they otherwise get in six months. Supporting our local businesses helps stimulate our economy.
We also offer all of our local nonprofit organizations an extremely low cost vendor space at our Home & Garden show so they can reach thousands of people in one place with their messages.
Paint the Town Pink — Six years ago our former publisher, Jeff Ackerman, wanted to do something to help support our local cancer center. Someone very close to him had battled breast cancer, and he was grateful for the care she’d received. Cancer is something that unfortunately touches each of us in one way or another. The Union created an event called “Paint the Town Pink” to celebrate women and to raise money for the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation to further the advancement of breast cancer care in our community. This past year, The Union’s Paint the Town Pink event raised $27,759.14 for the SNMH Foundation to support breast cancer care at our local hospital. (A total of more than $102,000 has been raised in six years). Hundreds of women come to Paint the Town Pink each year to have fun, visit with vendors, eat great food, enjoy the entertainment and raise money for the cause. As a side benefit, vendors get to promote their businesses, and once again, the economy is stimulated.
Chocolate Infusion/Flavor of Nevada County — A Cooking School: Because so many people enjoy food, chocolate, wine and cooking, The Union created these events that entertain, educate and provide local businesses an opportunity to inexpensively showcase their products and services to our community in a very relaxed and fun environment. Attendees have the chance to sample delicious food creations from local caterers and chefs, taste delicious local wines and learn more about cooking. Again, participating sponsor businesses have an opportunity to promote their products and services at this type of event.
With the exception of Paint the Town Pink (which is a complete fundraiser), The Union’s events also help raise revenue for The Union. Generally a nonprofit partner such as The Nevada County Food Bank at Flavor of Nevada County: A Cooking School or the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at our recent Chocolate Infusion event (which created and sold those delicious chocolate martinis!) do receive a portion of the event proceeds.
The Union is a for-profit corporation that provides jobs for 64 people, including myself. Any revenue The Union earns from our non-fundraising community events allows us to continue to produce our newspaper, promote our local businesses and continue reinvesting in our many worthwhile nonprofit organizations.
I am proud to be The Union’s Event and Sponsorship Manager. I love my job because I get to create and manage events that benefit our community in so many ways.
And I get to have fun in the process!
Mary Anne Davis is the event and sponsorship manager at The Union and a 25-year resident of Nevada City. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4241.