Charity plays Santa for nonprofits year around |

Charity plays Santa for nonprofits year around

Northern Nevada Giving Tree founders Ginger Easley and Toni Van Winkle.
Brad Coman

A charity group that has been flying under the radar for the past two years has donated more than $50,000 to Carson Valley nonprofits.

The Northern Nevada Giving Tree meets four times a year where they hear presentations from 501c3 organizations.

“We hope to find organizations we’ve never heard of before,” organizer Ginger Easley said. “We get together and have a presentation and within an hour determine who the funds are going to go to.”

So far, the Giving Tree has met eight times since fall 2017, and each time they’ve raised significant amounts of money.

The first nonprofit to benefit was Between Horses and Humans, which received $2,100.

One of the biggest single donations was $10,000 a year ago to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada last year.

Easley said a lot of people donated in memory of Dan Wray, who was a big supporter of the clubs.

On the day after Veterans Day, Easley and Toni Van Winkle brought a $7,100 check for Welcome All Veterans Everywhere.

“I remember distinctly sitting in the Van Winkle’s front room the night we brought this group to life and we are both forever grateful for your continued support and generosity,” Easley said.

The Giving Tree works by bringing a group of 100-plus friends seeking to make amplified contributions to four selected nonprofits, Easley said.

The goal is to attract 100 or more members willing to donate $100 each in an effort to hit a $10,000 donation a quarter.

“We are looking for a group of like-minded individuals that will contribute at each event to keep our numbers growing to 100 and beyond,” she said. “If the members have a name of a nonprofit they are passionate about, that organization’s name goes into a random drawing.”

Representatives of nonprofits attending the meeting can lobby members. At each gathering the group picks four nonprofits and then representatives of each group makes a pitch. Then members vote on which group receives the donation.

Organizations that have benefitted from the Giving Tree include the Suicide Prevention Network, Douglas Animal Welfare Group, Dangberg Home Ranchy Historical Park, MEFIYI and the Carson Valley Medical Center Hospital Foundation.

The Giving Tree had its roots when Van Winkle and Easley had children at Minden Elementary School and were doing fundraising with the school.

“People started looking at us as the ultimate fundraisers and we were being asked to help out with everything,” Easley said. “We wanted to have specific causes. We always wanted to give back, but we wanted to find things that were hidden. We found quite a few hidden nonprofits that people didn’t know about.”

They set up a Facebook page and people began to respond and become involved.

While she hopes to attract more participants, she said she recognizes that Douglas is smaller than several other places where similar organizations exist.

The group meets the third Thursday every three months with its next meeting at Jan. 16.

To find out more about the group, search for Northern Nevada Giving Tree under Facebook.

Or those interested may contact Easley at 775-309-7979 or, or Van Winkle at 775-720-6043 or