Four nonprofits are better than one – or at least that’s the idea behind Four a Cause.

“It all started when we decided to host a holiday party for our company, clients, partners and friends,” said Amy Landry of Benchmark Residential & Investment Real Estate. “We figured if we were going to get a bunch of people together that we should also invite local charities to raise awareness and funds. It’s easy to just write checks, but helping these organizations raise significant awareness takes more effort and is what contributes most to long-term sustainability.”

In anticipation of the third annual Four a Cause Nov. 30 at Aura, 20 nonprofits sent in application videos, and the four with the most community votes were selected to share the spotlight and accept direct donations. No Umbrella Media created a professional video for each of the four nonprofits with the highest number of votes: Team Hailey Hugs, ProsperityME, The Healing Tribe and Special Surfers. The free event, featuring party band Dean Ford & The Keepsakes, included a raffle that raised $2,000 to be split between the four organizations.

“We’re here for all the causes,” said Courtney Parsons, director of agent operations at Benchmark Realty.

Team Hailey Hugs, which received more than 1,000 community votes, gives grants to children and families fighting cancer in memory of Hailey Steward, who lost her battle to cancer in 2017, just before her 10th birthday.

“Everything that Team Hailey Hugs does is Hailey’s mission,” said Tabaitha Steward, who channels her grief for her daughter into a force for good. “In one year, we’ve helped over 100 Maine families.”

“It was really positive to see all the good that is being done by nonprofits in our community,” said Matteson Nadeau, marketing and event coordinator for ProsperityME, which provides financial education for refugees, immigrants and low-income Mainers. “It gave us an opportunity to get our message out.”

“There are a lot of people here, and we feel honored to be part of something so amazing,” said Lisa DeFosse, executive director of The Healing Tribe. “We offer free massage and energy therapy for people who are engaged in traditional counseling who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety or depression and have financial need.”

The many supporters of Special Surfers who attended Four a Cause included board member Melissa Denis, whose oldest son was the nonprofit’s first wheelchair-bound surfer five years ago.

“This past August, we had 18 people in wheelchairs who surfed,” Denis said. “We just want to be sure that anybody who wants the experience gets it.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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