Pay it forward. Keep the change.

       Mark your calendar and don't miss this one-of-a-kind event!      


Gifts That Make a  Difference

Gifts That Give 6 Times!

Donating to, or purchasing from, a local nonprofit is a Gift That Makes a Difference for our entire community.

Donating in the name of someone else is an extra special gift, one that touches the heart of the person honored with the gift as well as the lives of our friends and family here on the coast.

At Gifts That Make a Difference Saturday, December 10 from noon until 4pm at the Liberty Theater in Astoria, you'll discover CLICK TO READ MORE 

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Knappa - Two Old Goats

Astoria - County Public Health, 820 Exchange - Suite 100

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At Gifts That Make a Difference Saturday, December 10 from noon until 4pm at the Liberty Theater in Astoria, you'll discover nonprofit organizations from Cannon Beach to Long Beach - all along our coast that support everything from arts to wildlife.

Alternative giving or virtual giving is...where the donor, instead of buying a gift for the recipient, makes a donation to a charitable organization in the recipient’s name and the organization provides an "alternative gift" or "virtual gift" - usually a certificate or card - for the recipient…[which] often contains an example of how the donation will be used…

For the strictly tangible-minded, groups offer ornaments, performance tickets, books, tee shirts and other items related to their work.

Donating at GIFTS THAT MAKE a DIFFERENCE gives six ways: 

  1. Donating to a nonprofit in someone’s name is a gift to the recipient,
  2. It's a gift to the nonprofit, and
  3. It's a gift to whomever the nonprofit helps.
  4. Gifts to local nonprofits are also gifts back to our community.
  5. Gifts to nonprofits become gifts to their donor at tax time.
  6. When you donate, you become eligible to win gifts from local retail sponsors and artists.

All proceeds raised at Gifts That Make a Difference go directly into local community programs. But, Black says groups participate as much for the networking opportunities as the funds raised. “Everyone gets to talk with donors directly, unlike an envelope in the mail. And, volunteers get to exchange information and ideas with their peers in other organizations. It’s a beautiful holiday party that benefits everyone.”


One of those groups is Clatsop CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) trains community volunteers to stand up for abused and neglected children. Their advocacy helps ensure that these children have the best possible chance for a safer, more secure home life. CASA has participated since GIFTS’ inception in 2006. Executive Director Julia Mabry explains, “This event is unique. It truly embodies the spirit of giving that is so often lost in the holiday season. Where else can you shop for gifts that build a better community?”

Georgina Jones, Director of The Healing Circle / VOCA (Victory Over Child Abuse) leads another nonprofit that has participated every year because, “Gifts that make a difference is a great way for the community to see our nonprofit and others as a way to give differently.   It allows us to talk to people who may not have known about our program prior.  Most importantly it allows one to donate in honor of someone and have that money be utilized for healing of children in our community - now, that's a gift!”

Adopt an owl for someone this holiday?

Nancy Magathan Barbara CrassOwlCompWildlife Rehabilitation Center Director Sharnelle Fee began bringing one of the smallest of their rescued wildlife to the fair in its first year and then-apprentice Josh Saranpaa soon took over this duty. Now the Director, Saranpaa notes, "I really like the Gifts Fair because of the collaboration and partnership with other nonprofits, and it's a great opportunity to connect with people in our community." That is, if he can tear the people away from the owl accompanying him.

 Gifts That Make a Difference is free.

Enter through the Liberty Theater’s main lobby on Commercial Street.

Guests who make donations enter drawings for free gifts from sponsors: Columbia River coffee, dinners at the Uptown Café, and a basket of Seafoods from Bornstein. Donors giving $100 or more could win a spa getaway at Cannery Pier Hotel or a handmade quilt by local artist Laurie Caplan. Other business sponsors include Blue Scorcher Bakery Café, Columbia Bank, Englund Marine, and Thrivent Financial. Refreshments will be provided by Astoria Coffee House and Bistro, Baked Alaska, Bridgewater Bistro, and Three Cups Coffee House.

Two other community nonprofits have joined organizer Lower Columbia TimeBank as Hosts: Liberty Theater and United Way Clatsop County.  More than two dozen volunteers work together to bring the event to the coast.

Honestly, how could you miss this??

Thanks to all this year's participating nonprofits! (Click for a full list.)