NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — ‘Tis the season for great gatherings raising big money for charity.

Fourteen-year-old Dayna Blackmon looks forward to Great Strides every year. She has been at each one since birth, raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or CFF.

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“Even though I do have these lung problems, I can still sing and do what I love and that CF can’t stop me,” Blackmon said.

This year, though, won’t be the same for her and so many. No face-to-face meet-ups with friends or family to raise money — COVID-19 the culprit.

Organizers CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock spoke to said money doesn’t matter right now.

“We have really been focusing on supporting our CF community and not driving home the whole push for fundraising right now,” said Michelle Hudson, the senior development director of CFF’s Greater New York Chapter.


What’s most important is that everyone stays healthy. That’s why Great Strides is going virtual on May 17.

“New Yorkers will walk wherever because we are stronger together,” Hudson said.

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Partnership with Children, which is on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in New York City, connects students with mental health and community resources.

Their annual June gala raise $1.5 million for the nonprofit.

“Not having it this year is a huge hit, but the many years leading up to this have made us a strong organization that we can pivot and be nimble right now,” Partnership With Children CEO Margaret Crotty said.

Instead of the gala, a series of online town halls will keep donors in the loop.

“To really tell everybody, here’s what we’ve been doing. Here’s our strategy going forward,” Crotty said.

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The idea is to keep funding flowing without the glamorous affair, because while the pandemic forces the transformation of tradition, charities must and will continue to provide their essential services.