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In age of COVID-19, nonprofits counting on ROC the Day more than ever

Local nonprofits that have felt the financial blow of the coronavirus pandemic hope an annual 24-hour online giving event relieves some of the burden.

ROC the Day begins at midnight.

It's a chance for people to show their support for organizations in a nine-county region that are supported by the United Way of Greater Rochester.

"So many of our not-for-profits had to cancel their fundraising events due to COVID, so the importance of this for those who are able to dig deep and support where you can cannot be (overstated)," said Jaime Saunders, United Way president and CEO.

More than 500 nonprofits, from human services organizations to religious and arts and cultural groups, have registered for ROC the Day.

Many are offering challenge grants so donors can have their contribution doubled.

Saunders said this year, which  is ROC the Day's 10th anniversary, is more critical than ever in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the same time, some families and individuals are facing financial harships themselves.

"We find ourselves in a very difficult position as a community where there is increased demand and need for help and for services right when our nonprofits rely on the generosity of our community and yet, that's what Rochester does best," she said.

At a time when the region has suffered job losses and families that have not struggled before are turning to nonprofits for support, Saunders said contributions from people who can afford to give back may make the difference between some community organizations surviving or closing.

In the past nine years, ROC the Day has raised more than $7 million. 

WXXI is one of the participating organizations.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.