Classy set up the Nourish 365 Campaign campaign for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Image from web page

By Tom York

San Diego’s venture-backed Classy, a digital fundraising platform for nonprofits, said that its clients raised more than $900 million through Dec. 21, despite the many roadblocks imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown orders.

The total amount raised in all of last year is now being tabulated after a busy period holiday. That includes activity on Dec. 31, the biggest day of the year for nonprofit money-raising.

Early in the coronavirus pandemic Classy feared as many as a third of U.S. nonprofits might close due to coronavirus, and fundraising would crater. But according to the platform, users responded with a significant uptick in donations throughout the year in 2020.

“We’ve seen incredible resilience from our nonprofit customers who are finding new ways to fundraise in an online world to continue to serve their communities,” said Classy CEO Scot Chisholm. He noted that one-third of Americans participated in virtual fundraising events in 2020.

Classy was founded by Chisholm, Pat Walsh and Marshall Peden in 2006, originally to host fundraising events that benefit charities. According to the Classy website, the platform has helped clients bring in more than $2.5 billion in donations since 2011.

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Need financial help during the pandemic? California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate is now accepting the first round of applications for its Small Business COVID-19 relief program. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature set aside $500 million for businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic and resulting government shutdowns. “This grant program isn’t the end, it’s the beginning,” said Newsom. “It’s a bridge to help the millions of Californians, whose dreams and livelihoods are now on the line, as we work with the state Legislature to create additional support.” The state office said it will cut off acceptance of applications on Jan. 13 Details of a second round will be announced shortly. Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.

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New York private equity firm Jordan Co. says that one of its affiliates has closed a strategic investment in San Diego-based Innoflight Holdings, a leading provider of avionics used to establish links between satellites and their ground bases. According to its website, the 17-year-old technology company specializes in electronics systems for reliable operations in extreme environments. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

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Ben Dishman, a veteran pharmacist who treated many with mental illnesses at the VA Hospital in La Jolla, has written a book on his experiences. He says he wanted to write about the impact of drugs used to treat diseases and disorders such as schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress and attention deficit disorder. The self-published book is titled “I Can Treat That…Well Maybe?” “The better informed that people are about mental illness, the better able they are to recognize its symptoms and to help patients deal with the challenges,” he explains. “Mental illness should be treated without stigma by society like any other disease such as diabetes or heart disease.” Dishman, who was awarded his pharmacy doctoral degree in 1982, was board certified in the field of Psychiatric Pharmacy Practice the first year that it was offered in 1997. Among his many accomplishments, the now-retired pharmacist taught at the prestigious UC San Diego School of Medicine. The book is available through Amazon.com.

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San Diego-based defense contractor Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said this week that its microwave electronic products division has received a $11 million government contract related to a new next-generation satellite system under development. The company said in a news release that work under this new contract will be performed in Israel. No other details were available, including the source of the contract.

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San Diego residential real estate firm Team Kolker has hired Heather Wendlandt to the role of real estate agent and promoted Danielle Balestra to the role of buyer’s agent. Wendlandt brings more than 20 years of experience working in the market research industry to her new position. Balestra has been with the firm since 2015, primarily as a marketing manager. She earned her real estate license in 2016.

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Trade publication Native Business has honored Indian Energy as the first recipient of the Native Business of the Year Award. Indian Energy is Native American Indian-owned, with offices in Anaheim Hills and San Diego, as well as Baja California. Indian Energy took the honors at a virtual awards program, which spotlighted those Native American businesses that best exemplify “courage, innovation and commitment to economic self-sufficiency and prosperity.” Gary Davis, Native Business’s publisher, said that “Indian Energy is demonstrating innovation in the energy sector at an unprecedented scale by creating energy storage and microgrid solutions for tribal nations and federal Defense Department clients.”

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.